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The Morning Work Cycle




The morning work cycle is arguably the most important part of a Montessori school day experience. The length may vary slightly depending on the age of the children, but generally consists of three consecutive hours where a child’s work and concentration are protected. During the work cycle, children will choose and work with materials, receive lessons, have a snack, socialize, observe, lend a helping hand, and take care of their needs. In order to respect the child’s work and encourage concentration, the work cycle is not interrupted by pull-out classes, whole-group circle times, or appointments. 


In order for the work cycle to be successful, there is a balance of freedom and limits. Children are free to move about the classroom, choose what they would like to work on and for how long, choose where they would like to do their work, and they are free to socialize with their classmates and guides. However, each of these freedoms has clear limits. For example, a child is free to move about the room, but the limit is that they must be walking. The child is free to socialize, but they may not distract a peer who is concentrating on their own work. The role of the adult during the morning work cycle is to guide and support the children through observation, lesson-giving, and limit setting. The adults are armed with tools and strategies for encouraging and guiding children to the work they need to practice while balancing the child’s need for periods of rest and social interaction. 


Have you had the opportunity to observe a morning work cycle?




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