One major tenet of Montessori education involves giving children a lengthy period — three hours, to be specific — of uninterrupted school work time. This may seem hard to conceptualize, especially if your child is very young. Maybe that’s because our idea of “work” could use a little refining.
A work cycle, simply, consists of selecting an activity, doing it, achieving some internal satisfaction for the work and then selecting the next task. When one experiences this cycle of “choose-do-return to order-satisfaction, then choose again,” a powerful success cycle is created for the student, with feelings of accomplishment and contentment.
When a child is having a productive work cycle, we’ll say they are ”on a roll.” The child will go from task to task, choosing progressively harder tasks as time allows. On those high-achieving days, the student feels unstoppable.
Then there are the days when the day gets off in fits and starts because of interruptions, not enough time to complete a task before another commitment or a lack of the necessary supplies. As adults, we know how this goes: multiple trips to the hardware store that sabotage the best efforts for a productive workday!
Most of us, even small children, have a built-in three-hour work cycle. We might contrast and compare it to a sleep cycle. When we know we have at least three hours of uninterrupted time, we will tackle a multitude of jobs and enjoy doing it. If our time is interrupted, we may not even try to start anything. “It’s not worth the effort” we might say. Sound familiar?
When given a regular three-hour period, children (and adults) learn to tap into a repeatable success cycle. After accomplishing a series of short and familiar tasks within a long-term time frame, a child will then choose a task that is more challenging, which habitually represents successive “true learning”.
Reference Information – MarenSchmidt.com