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Why are classes only 3 hours long?

We don't "mandate", we "invite", and we "entice". To do this we must have a 3-hour uninterrupted work cycle. 

This is one of the basics as founder, Maria Montessori would have said that any school without this was not doing the work of a Montessori school.

In effective Montessori programs, the School day is structured to provide learners with at least one daily-uninterrupted work period appropriate to the age level of the children in each class. At the early childhood level this has traditionally been understood as a three-hour uninterrupted work cycle. 

The purpose of long, uninterrupted blocks of work time is to allow students to select work freely, eventually becoming absorbed in work that has a particular fascination for them at this point in their development. Interruptions, no matter how valuable the alternative activity might seem to be, disturbs the fragile development of the child’s focus, concentration, and intellectual exploration on his or her own.