Why choose our school.

Whole child education blending Creating Compassionate Cultures (CCC) and Montessori.

Whole child education integrating Creating Compassionate Cultures (CCC) and Montessori.

Empowering children to make a positive difference in the world.

Tara Redwood School provides a curriculum and environment that nurtures the innate positive qualities within each child. The school strives to stimulate an intense interest in and joy of learning and an opportunity for each child to fully explore their particular area of interest.

We provide a program that addresses not only our students’ various talents but, just as importantly, their emotional and inner development. Our school strives to develop the ‘whole child‘ — mental, physical and spiritual.

The approach we use is an integration of Montessori and Creating Compassionate Cultures.

Universal Education and Creating Compassionate Cultures

Yama Yeshe

Yama Yeshe

Inspired by her teacher Lama Yeshe, the founder of the school Pam Cayton was motivated by a desire to help initiate an education program that not only prepared children academically, but also emotionally and spiritually. This program is known as Universal Education.

The Tara Daycare opened its doors at the Land of Medicine Buddha in the redwoods of the Soquel foothills. The daycare soon became a full-fledged preschool. After the Loma Prieta earthquake on October 17, 1989, the preschool moved to Pam’s home nearby, where it remained for the next eleven years.

In 1996, a Montessori based program for kindergarten and first grade began back at the Land of Medicine Buddha.

This was a natural continuation of the preschool. By 1997, the school was serving children through the third grade.
In 1997, development of the playground began. Nestled in the redwoods by a gurgling creek, this magical spot is now comprised of a soccer field, a basketball court, a series of wonderful wooden climbing and play structures, and various other play areas.


Pam Cayton

Pam Cayton


In August 2000, the preschool moved from Pam’s home to a beautiful location at the Land of Medicine Buddha, adjacent to the kindergarten and elementary classrooms.

In 2012, Tara added a campus in Soquel Village.
This campus houses our Kindergarten classes, elementary classes and the Wisdom Way After School Program.
CCC for Santa Cruz Elementary and Pre schools.

Tara Redwood School offers first year parents complimentary CCC workshops for all the seven steps that comprise our curriculum.

Since 1989, Pam Cayton and the staff at Tara Redwood School have researched, created and implemented strategies for awakening compassion, wisdom and social responsibility in the minds and hearts of children. The Seven Steps to Knowledge, Strength and Compassion is a unique, secular educational methodology developed at our non profit private school in Santa Cruz, California.

Tara Redwood School has evolved into a wonderful community of children, teachers, parents and alumni.

It blends the best of Eastern and Western approaches for educating the hearts and minds of children. We offer our students a myriad of creative activities in order for them to explore compassionate expression. Some of our special electives include  music appreciation and practice, pottery, multi media arts and crafts, wilderness and environmental studies, theater arts, yoga and lastly, compassion in action. Students learn about sharing  as they make special  projects whose proceeds can be donated to several charities.

Ages 2 - 3

Class Time
7:30am – 5:30pm


Ages 3 - 5

Class Time Options
7:30am -5:30pm


Choose from 3, 4 or 5 days per week attendance;
Before & after school care is available.
Redwood Campus: 831-462-9632 | Village Campus: 831-475-0201

Upcoming Events

  1. Harvest Celebration

    October 31
  2. No School: Teacher prep day

    November 1
  3. No School: Conferences

    November 2
  4. CCC Parenting Evening #3

    November 7 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
  5. No School: Veterans Day

    November 12
  6. No School: Thanksgiving

    November 21 - November 23

Video contribution by Sidharta Pascual

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