ARYA CAYTON IN NEPAL
In California, the GreenTeens explored Tara Redwood School in january/february 2017, a unique school with an environment for the development of children : physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual dimensions.
Arya Cayton (Pam Cayton's daughter, founder of Tara Redwod School) the young business woman and founder of ESTWT http://www.estwstcollective.com/ is speaking us about her experinece in this inspiring school.
How was your first day in Tara Redwood School Arya?
I think I was only 2 years old so unfortunately I don’t remember!
How did you live these school years? How many years did you spend at the school?
Because my mom started the school when moved from Nepal to Santa Cruz when I was 18 months old, I was one of the very first children at the school. At that point it was only a pre-school so I stayed until I left for Kindergarten at a different school when I was 5 years old.
In relation to the Californian education system, can you define the differences according to you?
I was fortunate to go to Montessori School when I left TRS and didn’t go to a public school until high school. Although the Montessori School had a very well developed curriculum and some great teachers, I don’t remember there being an emphasis on emotional and inner development. For example, simply the conflict resolution process at TRS is so well developed and effective. It is simple, yet profound and is even relevant as an adult. At TRS, everything has an underlining focus on understanding how you as an individual have an impact on others…your friends, family, community, school, and ultimately the world. TRS is the only school that I have observed that really focuses on how you create positive change not only through your work but from developing your inner qualities.
For you what was so special in school? And especially at human level?
Of course I left when I was only 5, but growing up nearby the school, I was able to observe and become very familiar with the school and my mom's work. When I was older I worked at Tara Redwood School summer camps. I think that the most special quality about TRS is the focus on developing empathy and kindness from such an early age. Even at the preschool, during lunch time, children discuss where their food comes from and recognize all of the people and animals that contributed to their meal. You can see toddlers eyes light up when they start to recognize this and there is even some gratitude. I might be biased, but I think this is pretty special!
What did you think you were going to do as a job when you were younger?
I think I wanted to be a vet for a while, and later, a nurse. I obviously changed my mind!
How was the transition with high school?
I had been at the same Montessori School from age 5 to 13, and my last year I was in a very small class so by the time high school came I was very ready to expand and meet new people. It was a challenging age in many ways but the transition itself was actually quite smooth.
What did you do after high school as studies?
I went to a 4 year art & design college called California College of Art. I started off in the Fine Arts department but later changed my major to Community Arts, a program that focused on art and design in the social context.
How do you live your entrepreneurial life as an independent?
Since starting EST WST, I have been living part of the year in Nepal. I love living in this part of the world and the cost of living is much less than in California so it has allowed me to concentrate on developing my business and other projects.
How is your life in Nepal Arya?
There are challenges here than we don’t have to experience in the US. Sometimes we run out of ground water for a few hours or even a couple days, showers aren’t always hot, and there are sometimes hours at a time of power cuts so you don’t have internet and electricity all the time.
You can’t drink the tap water or you’ll get very sick. Despite the challenges, living here has introduced me to new ways of thinking and living. People might have a lot of hardship but they don’t live with the same type of stress and anxiety that we have in the West. People are naturally very genuine, helpful, and easy going. For this reason, despite all of the other hardships of living in Nepal, its actually a place where I feel very happy and inspired. I don’t want to live my whole life here but I do think I have learned and gained a lot from my time spent here.
What advice would you give to young people who want to go launch their business?
According to you, what qualities are required for social business?
I am still learning every day what it takes to start a social enterprise. I didn’t exactly have any professional skills in this so I’ve had to learn as I go, and even if I do this for the rest of my life I am sure I will constantly be learning. I think the most important thing is to have a clear motivation for why you want to start this project and then you have to remember that every day. That way, when things are challenging, you remember your motivation and that keeps you going.
You also have to be willing from the beginning to put in the time and effort required, even when it’s not going well. The exciting thing is that we all have the potential to create something out of an idea that comes from our own individual minds. If it’s an idea that could benefit people or the planet then I think it is definitely worth putting in the time and effort to try to make it happen.