This article examines the dominant discourses teachers in early childhood education (ECE) used to
produce understandings of children and educational practice for them. Seven teachers from two early
childhood centres in urban KwaZulu-Natal participated in this qualitative study. Data were produced
through semi-structured interviews and conversations. The shared discourses of biology, development
and difference are discussed. The findings show that teachers unproblematically use dominant discourses
which narrow possibilities for them to understand children. This in turn limits their capacity for shaping
contextually relevant practice. The article concludes with a brief discussion on worthy areas to focus on
in order to map a way forward for developing the skills and capacity of teachers in ECE.