Research performed by NAMTA, being the North American Montessori Teacher Association in conjunction with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi the author of “FLOW” has indicated strongly that Montessori graduates are much more likely to engage in periods of deep concentration. They compared 600 high school students who graduated from standard Primary Education and Montessori Education and found that this possibility to engage had several consequences:
- Eager involvement
- Greater ability to invest energy
- Persistence when they face frustration
- Interested to learn
When young children at school and at home can determine how long to perform an activity and are not interrupted when they are concentrating constructively, they establish long lasting patters.
Being able to be in ‘flow’, (deep, nurturing concentration), feeds the soul. It does not only have effect on the actual product of the activity, but stimulates the well functioning of the integrated body and mind. At the end of the experience, the person feels encouraged, charged, happy, healthy and strong.
The Montessori classrooms offer the opportunity to continue a work over time that is constructive and feeds the personality. During the work-cycle children can build up their concentration span by starting with something that requires less energy and moving from that to topics that require deeper concentration. Teachers have flexibility built into their lesson schedule to allow students to complete a productive work period versus interrupting by means of a bell signaling a group break period. Students then have the opportunity to complete their concentrated task and then take a natural break by getting a snack and drink. They are respected to feed their inner and outer selves!
The interesting phenomenon is that individuals did not need anybody to say, “Good” or shout, “Well done”. The satisfaction and well being stemmed from within that person and within the process! At this point in time intrinsic motivation is at work.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explains this phenomena with his theory of ‘flow’. When people are in flow, which is the deepest level of motivated concentration, they can achieve their highest goals! Creating an environment that makes that possible helps to ensure not only good short term goals but affects the person’s well functioning as a whole.
The style of engagement with the adults and the curriculum ensures quality of experience. The children experience deep, intrinsic concentration and know how it feels to be actively involved in their own learning process!