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The Great Work

Dr. Paul Epstein


The phenomenon of false fatigue is well known by students of Dr. Maria Montessori. After working an hour or more, children’s quiet concentration gives way to restless movements. The children may appear as if they are resisting having to take a nap. But we understand their fatigue is false. The children are instead filled with energy from their concentration. False fatigue is a hallmark of something else: It is a prelude leading children to what Dr. Montessori called their Great Work.

During this presentation, we will identify the Great Work as an avenue to normalization. We will also explore Dr. Montessori’s discoveries for how we can better guide children spiritually so that their impulsive behaviors transform into obedience by choice. When this occurs, children will have fulfilled their first plane of development, and we will have completed Dr. Montessori’s mission to serve life.


Paul Epstein

Paul is the educational director of Designs for Lifelong Learning. He has worked in education as an administrator, university professor, teacher trainer, classroom teacher, researcher, consultant, and author.

A highly regarded international and inspirational speaker, Paul brings transformative learning experiences to educators and parents throughout the world. He is the author of numerous articles and books including An Observer’s Notebook: Learning from Children with the Observation C.O.R.E. He is also the co-author of The 60-Day Montessori Observation Workbook and The Montessori Way, a definitive work on the Montessori experience.

His administrative experiences include working as a head of Montessori schools, and he brought the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program to one of the schools. Paul also works as a director and instructor of Montessori teacher education programs. He has been a Montessori classroom teacher in Montessori early childhood, middle, and high school programs.

Paul holds Montessori teacher certification in early childhood and secondary levels one and two from the American Montessori Society and his doctorate is in Cultural Anthropology.

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