Donation plants musical garden at Early Childhood Center

The CSU Early Childhood Center has a new “musical garden” for children, thanks to the support of two dear friends.

The Bea Romer and Peggy Noland Children’s Musical Garden, which features a variety of outdoor musical instruments designed for children and adults, was funded through a donation from former Colorado First Lady Bea Romer and her close friend Peggy Noland, who met as freshmen in 1947 at what was then known as Colorado A&M.

photo of Bea Romer and Peggy Noland
Bea Romer, left, and Peggy Noland test out one of the instruments.

Both studied child development in what was then called the College of Home Economics. Early childhood education was Romer’s focus when her husband, Roy Romer, served as Colorado governor for three terms in the 1980s and 1990s.

The idea of creating the musical garden arose during a tour of the Early Childhood Center last year. Noland had traveled to CSU from California to join in the celebration as Bea Romer received the 2013 College of Health and Human Sciences Honor Alumna Award from the CSU Alumni Association.

Noland and the Romers attended a dedication ceremony for the new garden on Oct. 17.

“There’s something about the sound of a children’s musical garden,” Bea Romer told the audience. “I’m so happy with how it’s turned out.”

The outdoor instruments, which include xylophones, pagoda bells and contrabass chimes, were made by Durango-based Freenotes Harmony Park. In addition to the instruments, the garden features a memorial bench and tree to honor Noland’s late son, Michael Daly Noland.

photo of kids playing at the garden
Children play at the new musical garden.

“It struck me how much my oldest son Michael would have enjoyed this place,” Noland said at the ceremony. “He would have had each of us playing a musical instrument. I really feel his presence here today.”

Other speakers at the event included College of Health and Human Sciences Dean Jeff McCubbin, CHHS Associate Director of Development Victoria Keller, Early Childhood Center Executive Director Karen Rattenborg and Lise Youngblade, head of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies.

The Early Childhood Center has been in existence since 1929 and is the laboratory school for the Department of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Health and Human Sciences at CSU.