Date of Award


Document Type

Action Research Project

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Education, Montessori

First Advisor

Christine Phillips


Montessori Early Childhood


This study examines the effect of combining vigorous exercise with cognitively engaging games on children’s executive functioning skills such as self-direction, engagement, and focus. Over four weeks, the research took place in a Montessori early childhood classroom with 17 children ages 2.6 to 6. The four-week study included a one-week baseline week to collect initial data on the capabilities of self-direction and comprehensive data on energy levels and engagement. The children participated in a 14-minute movement activity with 7 minutes of vigorous exercise and 7 minutes of cognitive-engaging games. The researcher used both quantitative and qualitative data tools to examine the effects on children’s ability to independently choose an activity, engage, and focus during the morning. The increased movement and cognitive exercise positively impacted children’s executive functioning skills. Future recommendations would include extending the intervention to study further if productivity continued to increase as the children had more days to engage in the exercises. Based on the data gathered in this action research, I recommend that teachers provide an opportunity for children aged three to six to participate in a short morning gathering where they can engage in vigorous movement and a cognitively engaging game.