While key conceptions and the status of environmental education (EE) have been reported at various international, regional, national and local levels, those in play in the schools of Quito (Ecuador) are still relatively unknown. Of particular interest to this study are private schools: they are considerable in number in Ecuador and elsewhere, yet remain largely underrepresented in national and local studies. Therefore, a survey with a focus on conceptions of EE was administered to teachers (74) and pupils (748) of the third-, fourth- and fifth-years (7-10 years old) of elementary education, in 22 private schools in Quito. Using Sauvé's categorization of conceptual currents in EE, findings suggest a strong conservationist theme among teachers whereas pupils approach EE from both conservationist and naturalist perspectives. In terms of the status of EE, implementation is still limited to classrooms and in teacher professional education and development. Consideration of diverse conceptual currents is strongly recommended in teacher professional development, and the strengthening of EE-related partnerships between schools, homes and communities.