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Nurturing Intrinsic Motivation in Children: The Key to Lifelong Success

Neil Jackson, Head of Years 5 & 6, March 2024

In the fast paced world of parenting and education, it’s easy to fall into the trap of relying on external rewards and incentives to motivate children. From stickers and sweets to grades and gifts, extrinsic motivators often take centre stage in shaping children’s behaviour and performance. However, beneath the surface lies a profound truth: intrinsic motivation reigns supreme in nurturing children’s long term growth and success.

Intrinsic motivation, the internal desire to engage in activities for their own sake, is a powerful force that fuels lifelong learning and fulfilment. As parents, educators, or caregivers, our role in nurturing intrinsic motivation is pivotal. Here’s why:

  • A Lasting Flame: Extrinsic rewards like treats or prizes might ignite a temporary spark of enthusiasm, but it’s intrinsic motivation that keeps the flame burning bright over a prolonged period of time. When children are driven by internal factors such as curiosity, passion and personal satisfaction, their motivation endures beyond the promise of external rewards.
  • Building Self-Efficacy: Intrinsic motivation fosters a sense of self-efficacy. When children pursue activities because they find them enjoyable or meaningful, they develop a deep seated confidence in their capabilities. This self belief becomes a sturdy foundation upon which they can tackle challenges and pursue their aspirations.
  • Fostering Creativity and Innovation: Unlike extrinsic motivators, intrinsic motivation encourages creativity and innovation. When children are driven by genuine interest and passion, they’re more likely to think outside the box, explore new ideas and take risks. This spirit of creativity is essential for navigating an ever evolving world and finding solutions to complex problems.
  • Intrinsic Satisfaction: The satisfaction derived from pursuing activities for their own sake is unmatched. Whether it’s delving into a favourite book, solving a challenging puzzle or mastering a musical instrument, the intrinsic joy of the process itself becomes its own reward. This deep sense of satisfaction fuels children’s ongoing engagement and commitment to their pursuits.
  • Promoting Autonomy and Growth: Intrinsic motivation thrives in environments that prioritise autonomy and personal growth. When children are given the freedom to explore their interests, make choices and set their own goals, they develop a sense of ownership over their learning journey. This autonomy not only cultivates intrinsic motivation but also nurtures essential life skills such as self regulation, resilience and adaptability.

While extrinsic rewards certainly have their place, they should be used sparingly and thoughtfully. By prioritising intrinsic motivation, we empower children to become self directed learners, creative thinkers and resilient individuals equipped to navigate life’s challenges with confidence and curiosity. So let’s nurture their inner drive, cultivate their passions and watch them soar to new heights of achievement and fulfilment. After all, the greatest rewards are those that come from within.

The Importance of Reading for Pleasure

Victoria Evans, Deputy Head Academic, February 2024

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Reading is so important; it provides an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, allowing children to explore new worlds, cultures and ideas.

Beyond the pleasure it brings, the enjoyment of stories and books equips us all with a valuable tool – the ability to gain perspective. It allows us to step into the shoes of characters from diverse backgrounds, fostering empathy and understanding. In an increasingly interconnected world, the capacity to see things through others’ eyes is a skill that will serve your children well as they grow and navigate the complexities of the real world. 

It’s crucial that we prepare our children for that real world not just academically, but holistically. At The Manor, we aim to develop resilient, adaptable, and independent thinkers who are not only capable of assessing and directing their own learning but are also equipped to thrive in an ever-changing global landscape.

Independent and collaborative learning styles are both equally important. Independence in learning means empowering our children to ask questions, pursue their passions, and take real ownership of their education. It means teaching them how to research, analyse, and synthesise information effectively. This self-directed approach not only builds confidence but also instils a lifelong love of learning.

Collaboration, on the other hand, is similarly vital. In life, very few problems are solved in isolation. Teamwork and effective communication are skills which will be in high demand as your children enter the workforce of the future. Through group projects, debates, and extracurricular activities, we encourage the children to work together, learn from one another, and appreciate the strength of diverse perspectives.

Reading a range of books helps us all to develop our views and opinions and find the words to express them and is therefore of the utmost importance in both independent and collaborative learning.  So our advice is to read with your children, read to your children and enjoy discussing whatever topics you may bump into along the way; it’s a journey worth sharing!

Where Next

Whole School Open Morning- Friday 10 May 2024, 10:00am – 12:00pm

To book your place, visit our Admissions page or email admissions@manorprep.org