Preschool Classroom Interventions Series: Motivational Difficulties

by Dr. Barbara Lowe

A child who has difficulty with motivation shows persistent lack of interest in school activities and lack of curiosity.

Skill building Interventions

  • Because positive peer interactions is linked to motivation in preschoolers, teach, model, and reinforce positive social skills through a social skills curriculum.


  • Scaffold tasks for the student, with tasks being taught in a skill upon skill. Make sure that the student can complete enough of each scaffolded task to feel a measure of success.
  • Involve the student in creating a portfolio her work of which she can be proud.
  • Include the child’s preferences in your development of materials and activities.
  • Incorporate interesting storybooks, creative movement, challenging but developmentally appropriate task, and music into the student’s day can help with motivation.
  • Use a variety of reinforcers to reward what the child does well and to encourage further effort.
  • Assign special “jobs” to the child during large group activities that he can do well so that the child will feel important to the and stay involved in the task.
  • Introduce novel toys when attention begins to fade.

Other helpful principles that could be applied

  • Make sure the curriculum you use is rich in hands-on learning, as children from child-centered programs where learning occurs through play and interaction, have higher motivation and self-efficacy. than do children from programs with more didactic instruction.