Wednesday, February 12, 2020

What is the Montessori Work Period?

What is the Montessori Work Period? - Montessori Elementary school - Montessori West

The uninterrupted work cycle is one question asked by many people who are new to Montessori preschool education. The concept is a crucial part of the Montessori Method and can be found in all schools accredited by the American Montessori Society. In fact, the existence of the uninterrupted work block is one of the key ways you can recognize an authentic Montessori school.

Defining the Work Cycle

Maria Montessori recognized that children learn at different paces and that longer work periods-- also known as work cycles-- were necessary for children to progress naturally. In the Montessori elementary school, this period is generally 2 to 3 hours long. The length of the work period will differ somewhat based on the age group in question because the long periods are often inappropriate for younger students. For these children, a 1 to 1 ½ hour work period is typically considered more beneficial.

Value of Uninterrupted Work Periods

Allowing children the opportunity to learn at their own pace is the rationale behind the Montessori work cycle. The idea is to provide each child with enough time to work on their projects and recognizes that some children require more time than others. Because of this difference in learning, the strict divisions of time adhered to by traditional educational systems often leave some children unable to complete their work before moving on to another subject or project.

Special Considerations

The usual work period also needs to be adjusted for some students, such as those with special needs. For these students, the schedule may be shorter or longer than for others and may include other considerations such as more one-to-one interaction between the student and their guides. The Montessori work period is a fundamental part of the Montessori Method. It provides children with ample time to explore concepts and produce more effective and accurate work results. It exists so that children are better able to absorb new information and work through problems at their own pace.

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