Uninterrupted Work Periods

Uninterrupted work periods are one of the most important principles of a Montessori education. At a Montessori school, all children, regardless of age, are given a set period where they can complete different tasks at their own pace. This is what we refer to as uninterrupted work periods. During these periods of time, guides do not interrupt a child’s work unless the child asks for assistance.

The amount of time uninterrupted work periods last depends on the Montessori school and the child’s age, but they are usually one to three hours long. The older a child is, the longer they can concentrate on a task, which is why older children have longer work cycles.

Throughout Dr. Maria Montessori’s extensive research, she discovered numerous benefits to uninterrupted work periods:

  • Work cycles allow each child to learn at his own pace without feeling left behind because another student finished her task first
  • Concentration skills improve, allowing students to delve deeper into a certain task
  • Learning does not get interrupted as in a traditional school, where a teacher stops a lesson after a certain time has passed to move onto a different subject
  • There is less “busywork” because children can move onto the next lesson once they finish their current one
  • Children are free to select activities that interest them
  • When a child becomes absorbed by a topic, they often reach a deeper level of understanding because they are doing something that interests them

Children who enjoy their work look forward to going to school each day. The idea of exploring a new topic excites them. They begin to develop a strong love of learning, rather than feeling like school is a boring place that they are forced to go to.

More in this series:

The Montessori Philosophy