Top-rated elementary schools in Phoenix, Arizona 2024

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While the Phoenix metro area continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., elementary schools in the downtown area have seen declining student populations in recent years.

The good news for parents is that some of that elementary school enrollment decline is due to more school options opening in the area.

In addition, parents enjoy Arizona’s friendly stance toward parochial and private schools, public charter schools, and school choice vouchers.

What to look for in a Phoenix elementary school

Finding the right elementary school starts with identifying what’s important to your student and family.

What type of environment will your student thrive in? In-person, online, a hybrid program with the flexibility to do both?

Does your student need personalized instruction? Or have any special needs?

You should also consider the school’s technology, philosophical approach, curriculum and instructional style as well as test scores and school rankings. In the end you want your student to have a sense of belonging and feel comfortable doing their best work. That involves the right student support and a good balance of family involvement throughout the school year.

The best elementary schools are preparing students for success in middle and high school, college and careers.

The best local elementary schools in Phoenix, AZ

When it comes to choosing the best elementary schools in Phoenix, we selected downtown schools with a track record of student success, personalized support and a focus on preparing students to reach future academic milestones.

1. ASU Prep Phoenix

Students and teacher learning

ASU Prep Phoenix stands out as the premier elementary school in downtown Phoenix, setting a benchmark in personalized, project-based education tailored to the diverse needs of Arizona’s communities.

Established in 2009 with a vision for a holistic PreK–12 experience, this campus mirrors the multicultural vibrancy of its surroundings. With Arizona State University’s support, it has been a trailblazer in crafting pathways to college, making higher education an attainable goal for its flourishing student body.

At ASU Prep Phoenix, the curriculum is meticulously personalized, allowing students to advance at their own pace while fostering critical thinking and social-emotional skills through relevant projects and activities.

From kindergarten, students have the opportunity to participate in a dual language immersion program, mastering both English and Spanish, thereby enhancing their global citizenship skills.

What sets ASU Prep Phoenix apart is its commitment to integrating technology into learning. Students engage hands-on with the latest technology to address real-world problems.

Collaboration is a cornerstone of their learning approach, encouraging students to work together to solve local and global issues. Additionally, community service is deeply embedded in the school culture, allowing students to apply their skills meaningfully within their local community.

Understanding that success is a collaborative effort, ASU Prep Phoenix provides a nurturing environment with multiple layers of personalized instruction, academic coaching, and emotional support.

The school recognizes the crucial role of family engagement and support in student success. They work closely with families to create a positive and productive educational environment, ensuring that students are not only academically prepared but also well-rounded, ready for college, and equipped for future careers.

This unique blend of advanced curriculum, emphasis on real-world skills, community involvement, and strong support systems is why students love ASU Prep Phoenix. It’s not just a school, it’s a community where students are encouraged to dream big and equipped to achieve those dreams.

Name: ASU Prep Phoenix Elementary
Address: 735 E Fillmore St., Phoenix, AZ 85006
Contact Number: (602) 899-1180

2. ASU Prep South Phoenix

ASU Prep Phoenix Elementary students

Established in 2018, ASU Prep South Phoenix is acclaimed as a top-tier elementary school in downtown Phoenix. It distinguishes itself through a personalized, project-based educational model that resonates with the diverse needs of its students.

The school, bolstered by Arizona State University’s support, skillfully crafts pathways to college, transforming students’ academic dreams into achievable goals. The curriculum is designed for self-paced learning, nurturing critical thinking, and social-emotional growth via hands-on projects.

A standout feature of ASU Prep South Phoenix is its innovative use of technology in the classroom, fostering problem-solving skills pertinent to real-world scenarios.

The school culture emphasizes teamwork, with students collaboratively addressing both local and global challenges. Community service is integral, enabling students to make meaningful contributions to society.

Surrounded by a support system of personalized teaching, academic coaching, and emotional guidance, and underscored by a strong commitment to family engagement, the school creates an environment conducive to learning.

This comprehensive approach, coupled with a focus on college preparation and its association with ASU, positions ASU Prep South Phoenix as a preferred choice for parents and a cherished educational hub for students.

Name: ASU Prep South Phoenix Primary/Intermediate
Address: 5610 S. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85040
Contact Number: (602) 551-6594

3. ASU Prep Pilgrim Rest

ASU Prep Pilgrim Rest students reading

ASU Prep Pilgrim Rest is a distinguished elementary school in downtown Phoenix, known for its unique curriculum that blends STEM, arts, and a strong focus on music education.

Each student is provided with their own musical instrument, facilitating a deep, creative learning experience.

The school’s commitment is evident in its robust programs, including art classes in various mediums, foundational STEM activities, and a beginning jazz band for 5th grade and 6th grade students.

Emphasizing mindfulness, students practice yoga, thanks to the school’s partnership with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

This nurturing environment, coupled with an emphasis on academic and personal growth, makes ASU Prep Pilgrim Rest a top choice for parents and students who are serious about their future goals.

Name: ASU Prep Pilgrim Rest Elementary
Address: 1401 E Jefferson St., Phoenix, AZ 85034
Contact Number: (480) 535-1218

4. Herrera School for the Arts and Dual Language

Herrera School for the Arts and Dual Language students and faculty

Herrera School for the Arts and Dual Language in Phoenix stands out for its unique blend of fine arts education and Spanish dual language program.

Esteemed for fostering both artistic growth and linguistic proficiency, Herrera School ensures that each student becomes the best version of themselves. The school’s commitment to high expectations ensures that students reach their full potential.

Parents choose Herrera School for its focus on developing well-rounded individuals who excel both artistically and academically in a supportive, diverse environment.

To learn more about Herrera School for the Arts and Dual Language, please visit their Facebook.

5. Kenilworth Elementary School

Kenilworth Elementary School students

Kenilworth Elementary School, established in 1920, is a highly regarded educational institution in downtown Phoenix.

The school is renowned for its dedicated team of educators who strive to help every student think and learn effectively. With the support of parents, community, and business partners, Kenilworth fosters a collaborative and nurturing environment.

Its commitment to the holistic development of students from preschool through grade 8 makes it a top choice for families seeking a supportive and engaging learning experience for their children.

To learn more about Kenilworth Elementary School, please visit their Facebook.

6. Capitol Elementary School

Capitol Elementary School students

Capitol Elementary School, located near the Capitol in downtown Phoenix, is recognized for its state-of-the-art facility, featuring innovative design elements like a large ramada, breezeways, classroom pods, and natural lighting.

The school sets high expectations for students from Pre-K through eighth grade, focusing on success without exceptions throughout all grade levels.

Capitol’s nurturing environment and modern facilities make it a top choice for families seeking a comprehensive educational experience for their children.

To learn more about Capitol Elementary School, please visit their Facebook.

7. Shaw Montessori School

Shaw Montessori School students

Shaw Montessori School in Phoenix offers an integrated and inclusive educational environment for children aged 36 months to 14 years.

Recognized as a top school, Shaw Montessori focuses on meeting the developmental needs of various age groups through highly personalized classes. This approach ensures a nurturing and dynamic learning experience, catering to the unique needs of each child in a supportive community setting.

To learn more about Shaw Montessori School, please visit their Facebook.

8. Irene Lopez Academy of the Arts

Irene Lopez Academy of the Arts students

Irene Lopez Academy of the Arts, a K-8 public school within the Roosevelt School District in South Phoenix, is dedicated to providing a safe, nurturing environment that empowers students and strengthens community ties.

The school offers innovative learning opportunities and technologies, catering to the needs of today’s students and preparing them for future academic and career success. Renamed in 2015 to honor retired principal Irene E. Lopez, the school has a rich history of serving generations of families.

To learn more about Irene Lopez Academy of the Arts, please visit their Facebook.

9. South Pointe Elementary School

South Pointe Elementary School students

South Pointe Elementary School in Phoenix offers K-5 students a unique educational journey. The school is committed to providing personalized pathways to success in a safe, nurturing environment.

It emphasizes close partnerships with families, redefining what’s possible for each child’s future. This tuition-free, K-5 school is a beacon of educational excellence in the heart of South Phoenix, focusing on the holistic development of every student.

To learn more about South Pointe Elementary School, please visit their Facebook.

10. Sunland STEAM Academy

Sunland STEAM Academy students

Sunland Elementary School, operating as Sunland STEAM Academy, focuses on delivering a secure and nurturing educational environment for students from kindergarten through eighth grade.

With a curriculum rich in STEAM subjects—Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics—the school is a learning center that aims to equip students with the skills necessary to tackle future challenges.

Their mission is to cultivate a community of lifelong learners, fostering academic excellence and personal growth within a supportive and innovative learning atmosphere.

To learn more about Sunland STEAM Academy, please visit their Facebook.

ASU Prep students

Comparing top-rated Phoenix elementary schools?

ASU Prep Phoenix, ASU Prep South Phoenix, and ASU Prep Pilgrim Rest are all great tuition-free elementary options to consider if you want a school that immerses students in a safe, supportive learning environment from a young age. We believe all students can achieve success at the highest levels, which is why our education is personalized, project-based, and delivered at a pace that meets students where they are.

The pathway to higher education and career success continues through ASU Preparatory Academy’s middle school and high school programs throughout the metro Phoenix area.

Chartered by Arizona State University, ASU Prep students are Sun Devils from day one, receiving regular opportunities for mentorship by ASU students and faculty. We’re helping students discover and pursue their passions, achieve their goals, and build a lifelong love of learning on their journey to success.

To learn more about ASU Prep’s network of schools, please visit our website.

Summer Tips: Get Kids Out of the House

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Learning should be – and can be – fun. Summer is the perfect time to engage young learners in meaningful opportunities to be curious, to explore, and to discover new interests. Check out this list of fun yet educational (and often free) activities to get your kids out of the house and learning this summer.

Try Geocaching: A combination of technology and active outdoor time, “The world’s largest treasure hunt” involves searching for hidden items in a specific geographical area using GPS coordinates on your smart device. Create a free account on and download the app. Choose a cache to find based on area and level of difficulty and head out for adventure.

Go on a Scavenger Hunt: Apps like Monkey Spot or Goosechase include scavenger hunts kids can do outdoors or in everyday places like the grocery store, finding assigned objects. You can also search online for free printable scavenger hunts by topic — seasonal, outdoor or color/alphabet-themed. 

Explore Outdoors: Discover history and culture and connect with nature at a state or national park. The National Park Service offers a Junior Ranger program with interactive activities that give kids a chance to earn a badge and certificate. Bonus: Fourth graders can visit America’s National Parks for free with an Every Kid Outdoors pass. 

Roam a Local Garden: Let kids explore exhibits, feed fish, and identify types of flowers. The Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix offers free admission 5:00-7:30 p.m. on the first Friday of every month, and The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix hosts Community Day with free admission on the second Tuesday of the month. Search online to find more beautiful gardens and special deals to explore. 

Tour a Museum or Science Center: Check online for nearby museums of art or history as well as science centers for hours, special activities, and free admission opportunities. Some options near our ASU Prep campuses include Heard Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, Children’s Museum of Phoenix, and Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. 

Through Museums for All, families presenting their SNAP EBT card can gain free or reduced admission to participating venues, and some banks offer their cardholders free or discounted museum passes. Check out an Act One Culture Pass from a public library to gain free access to Arizona’s arts and cultural treasures. 

Visit a Zoo or Aquarium. Check out animal encounters, tour habitats, learn about endangered species, get involved in conservation efforts, and take advantage of play areas.

Try Something New: Research local kid-oriented classes and workshops like pottery, painting, cooking, bird-watching, coding, or photography. Consider looking into Lowe’s or Home Depot’s building workshops or events held at nearby craft stores. Perhaps a new physical activity like gymnastics, martial arts, indoor rock climbing, dance, or ninja warrior training would be a good fit.

Stop in the Local Library: Local public libraries don’t only offer books for free check-out, but also host story time and hands-on activities like crafts, as well as interactive demonstrations like a magic show or science experiment.

Can’t Get Out of the House? Take your kids on a virtual field trip from the comfort of home to places like the Louvre in France or the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. Tune in to one of the many educational programs offered on YouTube or keep kids busy with an at-home scavenger hunt. 

No matter where this summer takes you and your family, try to include fun learning opportunities for the kids. When planning outdoor activities, be sure to consider the weather. Wear sun protection, hydrate, and have fun!