What is the Montessori work period?

What is the Montessori work period?

Updated: May 13, 2019

You may already know a bit about the Montessori work period, also known as the work cycle. What exactly is it, and why is it so important?

A Montessori work cycle is an uninterrupted block of time. During this time children are able to explore the prepared environment and engage with materials of their own choosing. The time is meant to give them opportunities to enjoy the work they love, while also cultivating basic life skills.

How long does it last?

Our classes typically have a three hour morning work period most mornings.

What are the goals?

When we give children this time, we do so in an effort to assist their development. The work cycle helps children:

  • Become more independent

  • Strengthen their ability to focus

  • Find joy with the materials

  • Feel deep satisfaction with their work

What do the children do during this time?

Every day is different! There is always some combination of most students working independently while teachers give individual or small group lessons. Great care is taken to not interrupt children while they are working, showing them the respect that this time and their exploration deserves.

In Primary/Early Childhood classrooms, lessons are given mostly to individuals. Children move around the classroom selecting work of their choosing. They may work on a table or the floor, with a special rug laid out beneath them. After selecting a work from the shelves, they bring it carefully to the workspace of their choosing, and use the material as they have previously been taught. Children know they are responsible for putting the materials back neatly and selecting their next work independently.

At this age, children are typically focused on their own work and may engage in what is called ‘parallel play’. This can be seen as defined working and playing beside one another while focused on their own individual work.

Students also might tap a friend on the shoulder and ask permission to watch the other student work; if the friend says yes, then students may watch each other do different work for periods of time.

The work cycle gives children a chance to develop autonomy, make choices, and find genuine joy in their work.


OKC Heartland Montessori School 

OKC Heartland Montessori School 

6120 N Drexel Blvd. Oklahoma City, OK 73112

OKC Heartland Montessori School by Future Education LLC does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, height, weight, physical or mental ability, veteran status, military obligations, and marital status.

Email List Signup