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What’s a Work Period? Your Questions Answered

The mind takes some time to develop interest, to be set in motion, to get warmed up into a subject, to attain a state of profitable work. If at this time there is interruption, not only is a period of profitable work lost, but the interruption produces an unpleasant sensation which is identical to fatigue.”


-Dr. Maria Montessori, What You Should Know About Your Child



Consider, as an adult, what it takes for you to do your best work. What must your environment look like? What do you need from others? What constraints do you need removed in order to meet your goals?

Dr. Montessori spent years observing children as they played. She quickly recognized that immense learning takes place during play, leaving it reasonable to call it the child’s work. Left without interruptions, she witnessed pure magic.

Children, even very young children, have the capacity for intense concentration. They have the innate ability to work through problems and develop solutions all on their own. They want to do these things. And what’s even better? They do it with a sense of self-satisfaction, not because they feel pressure or expectation to.


What Montessori realized is that we, as adults, sometimes need to get out of kids’ way. We often imagine they require more help than they actually do, or that we must offer rewards or incentives to ensure they do their schoolwork, but those assumptions are misguided. What kids really need is time, respect, and an environment in which they may focus deeply on their work.


Thus, the work period was born. Generally a block in the morning, this precious time is a cornerstone of Montessori education. Within the Quadrat curriculum, we integrate the work period within the blocks of time dedicated to one subject. For example, if students have a three-hour block for science, one hour of that may be dedicated to independent work time, the rest for lessons or projects.

Beyond the work period, Quadrat students dedicate a half hour each day to personal reflection. This quiet time just after lunch allows students to decompress, meditate, daydream and relax. They come out of this period reenergized and focused for the rest of the day.

Curious to see what a work period looks like in action? We would love to have you visit. Reach out today to schedule a time to visit our classroom.

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