Elevation School began with a question and a vision for the future from educators Elizabeth Dolph and Jessica Claypool: Where can we find a place for young children that respects and honors their ideas and understanding of the world? The answer for these two teacher-friends, both speech-language therapists and parents of young children, was in their own hearts and minds. Inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy, Liz and Jessica endeavored to create a place to elevate the lives and minds of children, rather than denigrate them. In a time when schools were reducing recess times while increasing academic requirements of young children, Liz and Jessica wanted to ensure that children were respected with access to the outdoors, natural materials, and a place to be free to play. As a director of a school for young children, Liz was also committed to empowering educators who felt passionate about early childhood education, all within the community of mindful parents here in Albuquerque.


Elevation opened its doors in the summer of 2014, with seven children of wonderful, engaging families. Since then, the school has grown, largely by word-of-mouth, from a single class to five classrooms from ages 12 months to 5 years, and has served more than 100 families. Unique to Elevation has been the development of immersive programs in nature— the Bosque program and Adventure Kindergarten—and a strong community of dedicated families. Elevation has grown in tandem with burgeoning research that reflects the innumerable benefits of learning through play, which as Einstein said, is “the highest form of research.”