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 is our main mission.

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.


Tara Redwood School has a school curriculum founded on these basic principles:

1. Insight

Develop a deeper understanding of our unlimited potential
Develop awareness of the effects of our actions on oneself, others and the environment
Understanding our emotions in order to exercise the freedom to make skillful, compassionate and helpful choices.

2. Authentic Speech

Speaking words that are helpful, kind, encouraging and complimentary.
Refraining from speaking words with ill intent i.e ., divisive speech, lying, gossip, harsh speech, name-calling, belittling, and exclusion.

3. Kindheartedness

Showing respect and compassion for all living beings (creatures great and small).
Taking responsibility for helping others whenever possible.
Being mindful not to harm  others.

4. Generosity

Practicing generosity and sharing our material belongings, our knowledge, our time and resources.
Not taking that which has not been offered or does not belong to you.

5. Tolerance

Practicing patience, respect, acceptance and forgiveness of differences
Not responding with anger, jealousy, pride or resentmentew pages for your content. Have fun!

School Participation

Each child has his/her own unique personality and interests. It is our aim to provide a curriculum that inspires and nurtures these various needs of the children.

Our open classroom style allows children to fully explore and pursue their special areas of interest.

We offer a program that has a stimulating math and language curriculum. We also value the applied arts and music as an extension of our  CCC curriculum.

Our program is very inclusive with a variety of explorative arts and sciences. There are a wide range of electives such as: pottery, watercolor and acrylic mediums, life lab at our farm and garden, a program in wilderness studies, yoga, theatre arts and exposure to music literature.

Most of the  electives are instructed by amazing parent volunteers who are also professionals in the given industry.

The curriculum is theme-oriented and it is inspired by Montessori’s philosophy of education. Children, from a very young age, are introduced to cartography of the earths’s continents  and to astronomy for the study of space. 

Students learn the geography of every continent, the terrains, the fauna and the  flora and mostly of the diverse cultures in the world. As the continental studies advance with age, students  are introduced to the foods from the land/continent they may be studying. Our innovative school thrives to teach children about sharing and the meaning of community. We value the participation by all our parents as a way to teach children about community, compassion and interdependence.

Annual Giving Campaign

As a non profit organization, Tara Redwood School is one of the thousands of  non profits that participates at the annual global giving day. Our goal during this fundraiser is to raise funds for a new campus building that can host our TK to Kindergarten to 5th   grade students.

Please help us unite Tara Redwood School into one campus. We are considering to relocate our upper grades to the same location as our pre school located at The Land of Medicine Buddha, Soquel. Your donation will be matched on Tuesday, November 27th.




CCC | Creating Compassionate Cultures


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.

Tara Redwood School is the first model school for the unique Creating Compassionate Cultures pedagogy (CCC).

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.

Pam Cayton

The CCC program 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 multi media arts and crafts, yoga, a Capoera extension class taught off campus by Lisa Dreyer-Campiglia, and mostly compassion in action. Students learn about sharing  their feelings and observing each other’s positive actions. Special  projects, such as The Compassion Cards project, is an example of our compassion in action program: children from all the grades are offered a theme and intention from which they aspire to complete creative art cards with water colors and ink. If needed, their instructors will write for them their authored intentions or wishes. All the original art cards are then printed in stacks of 10 cards with envelopes. Parents can select which cards they love and  wish to see printed. The proceeds from the purchased prints go to a charity selected by the children .  This is an amazing sharing experience for all the children who then share their very special cards for special occasions.

Ages 2 - 3

Part time/Full Time

Classes Begin as Early as

7:30am – 5:30pm


Ages 3 - 5

Part time/Full Time

Classes Begin As Early as

7:30am -5:30pm


TK - 5th Grade

Tk-1st grades | 2nd-5th grades

Classes Have Two Start Times

9:00–2:45 | 8:30–3:00


For Tk – 5th Grades:

Early care and after school care available if needed.

Redwood Campus: 831-462-9632 | Village Campus: 831-475-0201

Universal Education and Creating Compassionate Cultures

Yama Yeshe

Lama 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.

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. Our school soon expanded due to high student demand therefore plans for constructing a larger campus came into effect. However, these plans are still on hold while the school continues to raise funds In order to begin development near Its original homesite at The Land of Medicine Buddha. For this reason, In 2012, Tara added a campus in Soquel VillageThis campus houses our Kindergarten classes, elementary classes and the Wisdom Way After School Program.

Our Village Campus students enjoy all the wonderful electives and all of that the CCC amazing program has to offer them. Some day both campuses we be under the same Redwood Tree canopy.

Meanwhile, Ted, our trusted school bus driver, brings the children to the Redwood Campus, or near by parks or to the many field trips that Tara Redwood School offers for enrichment.


Upcoming Events

  1. No School: Thanksgiving

    November 21 - November 23
  2. Annual Giving: Giving Tuesday

    November 27
  3. CCC Parenting Evening #4

    December 5 @ 6:30 pm
  4. Half Day: Winter Concert

    December 20 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
  5. No School: Winter Break

    December 21
  6. No School: Winter Break

    December 24 - December 28

Video contribution by Sidharta Pascual

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