Date of Award


Document Type

Action Research Project

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Education, Montessori

First Advisor

Karen Anway


Montessori Elementary Education, Montessori Early Childhood


Executive function refers to the intellectual processes necessary for goal-directed cognition and behavior, which develop across childhood and adolescence. This study focused on the effects of physical activity on concentration and focus, prior to academic lessons, in urban Montessori classrooms ages 3-12. This study was administered for six weeks utilizing a thematic calendar of physical activities. The tools used for data collection were: a pre-dialogue with teachers, pre and post-assessments, control tallies, on and off-task observation counts and a post-satisfaction survey. Movement interventions improved focus and concentration by an average of 27%. The data collected supported our hypothesis that purposeful movement activities increase executive functioning skill development. Action plan implications include providing professional development training on movement activities and transitions for teachers and further research on the ability to improve children’s initiative to choose lessons independently. Physical activity opportunities should be incorporated into classroom schedules, as positive associations have been found between classroom-based physical activity and indicators of cognitive skills and attitudes, academic behavior, and academic achievement (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016).