Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

John H. Bickford III


This study explored the gender differences in play choice in a kindergarten classroom in rural Illinois. Kindergarten expectations support free choice time to enhance classroom behavior, interactions with peers, and conflict resolution. Participants were 12 male students and 11 female students in one general education classroom. Students were given an individual survey to label various pictures of toys as being for males, females, or both males and females. Parent questionnaires were sent home to measure what children play with outside of school hours. Results suggested that (a) it may be important to display images that include both males and females in the content they study, (b) classroom toys can be more varied than the toys children have at home, and (c) students pick up on teacher attitudes and may benefit from groups that promote cross-gender play. Results are discussed in terms of implications for the kindergarten classroom, as well as breaking gender stereotype norms to promote gender neutrality.