Pam puts the last coil on her dish. She smiles as she turns her masterpiece around. Jason is still beaming. Mr. Jackson told him his clay snake looked just like the one he saw in the zoo. Joey takes his dish home to show his mom and dad. Mom is so happy she takes him out for an ice cream cone. Rewards? Yes, all four of them. Rewards are nice things or good feelings you get for doing the right thing. Rewards are not just stars, money, and gifts. In fact, these should only be used as a temporary bridge to the more internally-based rewards.

Pam’s reward is the most intrinsic: her own satisfaction at having made something beautiful. She doesn’t need anyone to say, “I’ve never seen such evenly formed coils in my life,”–she knows it. Jason’s reward is Mr. Jackson’s attention, a type of social reinforcement. Joey’s reward is a goodie, given to him by his mom. There’s nothing wrong with having goodies as rewards, but don’t overdo it. Keep in mind that goodies will only motivate children for so long; eventually you’ll have to replace them with higher-level reward systems.