From the time they are toddlers, children are naturally interested in exploring their environment. From examining a blade of grass to playing with the family pet, toddlers want to know how everything works, feels and tastes. According to experts, it’s not until later that they learn to do something – like sit quietly at a snack table – in order to gain a reward or avoid a punishment. These two drivers of behaviour are known as intrinsic motivation (natural curiosity) and extrinsic motivation (linked to reward). But which is better for helping children learn – and can you nurture a joy of learning without handing out rewards?

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