Montessori saw that very young children are frequently frustrated in their attempts to do things for themselves and that what they need is to have specific exercises, as closely linked to real life as possible, that allow them to master the tasks that they see going on around them in everyday life.
She also saw that, unlike the adults in their lives, the children are not interested in achieving end results as quickly as possible, but are far more interested in the learning processes. As a result they will happily repeat exercises again and again until they feel satisfied. Practical life activities are therefore an important part of the Montessori environment.
The young child is attracted to activities that he sees going on around him and that give him independence and control of his own life. She therefore introduced into her classrooms materials and exercises that allow children the maximum possible opportunity to learn how to both look after themselves and their environment.
In the practical life area you will see things such as special frames to help children learn to fasten and unfasten clothes, lots of spooning and pouring exercises, stirring, whisking and grating trays, cutting and threading materials and many other activities that children see going on around them at home.
Practical life also includes helping children do other important tasks such as opening and closing doors, carrying trays and chairs, washing and drying hands, caring for books and blowing noses!