The Planet Alternative
Now in our nineteenth year at the Seaplane Airport, we are pleased to find that, for many families, The Planet is like a real-life neighborhood or village – with its adult-guided resources, spontaneous kid-directed events, shady places to share dreams with friends, and the infinity of textural details that show long cultivation. As we maintain a family feeling, with virtually no staff turnover, we particularly invite those parents who share our determination to find a wholesome way through our rapidly-changing world.
At The Planet we offer technical instruction, in shops that guide the genuine interests of children into general problem-solving skills, clarity, and self-confidence. And through our light over-all structure, emphasizing freedom and self-control, we carefully guide children toward best social development.
We think that highly structured activities can be excellent, but something more is needed. Teachers and counselors may do their best to add a personal feeling to activity programs, but modern kids’ behavior often shows a lack of center or continuity. Kids may win ‘sportsmanship’ awards yet remain unable to play fair without adult referees. They may get high grades in school, while real-life comprehension is overlooked. And what parents teach kids about good manners is not always reinforced in specialized programs.
At The Planet, we strive for a balance in which everyone’s heart is protected and honored. As a result, we find that diversity – of ethnicity, gender, ability, age, and plain old individuality – is a source of interest and fun. If we fail to honor the individual heart, we plant a need to assert the self above others, a need to seek advantage, to compensate for the inner feeling of neglect. Our ‘minors’-rights’ advocacy is a constant development of this theory.
Our policies, always subject to review, allow some unusual freedoms: like doing nothing, mutually-agreed rough play, and toy weapons – and they impose some demands that are not always found in kids’ programs: like responsible eating habits, ‘good judgement,’ and courtesy. But all our policies express only one principle: sensitivity for the rights and safety of everyone. This provides the best feeling of personal security, permission to ‘be,’ to grow and discover individuality in a balance of mutual respect. Kids soon welcome our consistent rules as sensitive protection. And they find, as no one could ‘teach’ them, that fairness is fun – and this is how a happy society works.