From Maria Montessori, Her Life and Her Work (words of E.M. Standing and Maria Montessori):
“The adult stops working when he has reached the end for which he set out – i.e., when his job is finished; or when he is too tired to go on. But, as we have seen, the child does not stop when the external end has been reached; he very often goes back to the beginning and repeats it, many times. But he does stop in the end – and that quite suddenly. Why does he stop just at that moment? It is because, unconsciously, he feels within himself that he has obtained what he needs from that particular activity – for the time being at any rate. While he has been repeating the exercises, there has been going on inside him a process of psychic maturation, which has now come full circle. A need has been satisfied; and he stops because the “cycle of work” has been completed.
The child does not stop working because he is fatigued. On the contrary, he issues from such a “cycle of work” as one strengthened and refreshed. His whole being manifests a characteristic calmness, almost a radiant serenity. He can be compared, on the psychic plane, “to a man who feels refreshed and content after a good meal.” The child who has come out of one of these prolonged periods of concentration feels “at peace with the world.” His soul is in a particularly sensitive state. He oversees many things in his surroundings that he did not observe before. He experiences a deepening of the social sentiment. ‘He becomes richer and more openhearted. This is just the moment when he may choose, quite spontaneously, to make some intimate communication, or demonstration of affection to his teacher, or to others; or even exeperience some new manifestation of the religious sentiment. The diner, who has dined well, will greet a friend affably whom before the dinner he might have passed without even a glance. This need not surprise us; before being able to expend our forces we must first collect them.‘ “