Children are naturally motivated - they just may not be motivated to do what we want them to do! What motivates children? Learning new things that they think are interesting (not what we think is interesting!) and playing - children learn through play. Our challenge as educators is to make learning fun - not work. So good teachers are playful! They enjoy their children, have fun with them and teach at the same time.
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The litmus test- if you think the children are not doing their "work" - then maybe you need to rethink what you are expecting them to do. Your goal may be that they will excel, but that is not their goal. If you lay down the foundation that learning is fun and interesting, then as they mature, they will continue to want to keep on learning because they are curious.