The children have a three-hour morning work cycle and it is important that children are able to start on time and remain uninterrupted during that time. The younger children (3 – 4½ years) can attend a 5 day morning programme from 9:00am – 12:00 noon. From 4½ years, or when the child is ready, they move to the full day programme from 9:00am – 3:00pm.
When a 3 – 6 year old child joins their classroom of a morning they will put away their belongings independently, then choose what they would like to work with. Having freedom of choice is one of the important pillars for any Montessori environment and for a child’s development. Having choice available to the child allows them to develop critical thinking skills, be more committed to the learning experience and supports the developing will of the child.
All children will have a presentation on materials before working with each piece independently, and on any given day there are first presentations occurring. Once a piece of material is chosen, or after it is newly presented, a child will work with that material, independently of the adult for as long as they need to. It is then packed away on the shelf and another choice is made.
Children are able to eat their mid morning snack when they are hungry. They are shown how to use the Practical Life area and are able to set up their own eating arrangement. Once the children return to work after their snack, it is often at this time that children experience their deepest concentration. It is the specific design of the three-hour work cycle that children can move into this time of deep concentration and engagement.
Children are able to take their work out onto the verandah or into the garden if they prefer those work areas. Outside the children can also engage in gardening, cutting flowers, collecting leaves and outside cleaning. All this type of work, when it is purposeful, has a place equal to traditional academic work in the Montessori environment.