Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Home Economics


Family life education includes the total education for living in families. The main emphasis of all home economics or homemaking education is life as it is lived within the home and family. Some aspects of home economics are usually included in the curriculum at all age levels from early childhood through secondary education. Family life in America has changed over the years. Such factors as family mobility, a greater amount of leisure time, an increase in early marriages, and more mothers employed outside the home indicate the need for education in family living. Moreover, currently fewer youngsters learn about homemaking in the home. Buchanan and others suggested that kindergarten and the elementary grades are the best places to begin to teach family living as most elementary school children can easily be reached. McMillian concluded that family life education at the elementary school level was of value to students. Elementary teachers need the assistance of home economists in developing units for family life education, according to Walton. She made the following recommendation based on suggestions from elementary school teachers: Home economists as individuals and/or as members of committees should study the elementary programs; compile lists of references, resources, films, techniques, methods; and assist in developing units which are easy for the elementary teacher to implement in the present curriculum. Limited research has been done to study elementary programs in family living. Walton studied the integration of home economics in the elementary school curriculum of Cecil County, Maryland. Buchanan's research compared the degree of enrichment accomplished by teachers prepared for elementary teaching and those educated for home economics teaching. McKendrick surveyed nutrition education in Latah County, Idaho, elementary schools. Further research could be done to understand existing family life education programs in elementary schools. DeVaney compiled a list of available resources as one part of her research in response to Walton's recommendation. The challenge to develop a unit for use in the existing elementary school curriculum was accepted by this writer. Early childhood education was selected since the available literature indicated little research had been done in family living at this age level. The unit that was developed was to help young children become aware of shifting sex roles. The objectives of the study included: 1. To help five and six year old children become aware of shifting sex roles of adult males and females. 2. To evaluate the effectiveness of the unit and to compare the children's responses on a pretest and post-test. J. To compare mothers' and fathers' responses to the test items indicating how they perceive the sex roles. 4. To compare the children's ideas of the sex roles with the parents’ attitudes and also the writer’s beliefs.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Family life education

Education, Elementary

South Dakota State University Theses



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University