Since its inception in the early nineteenth century, early childhood education has moved beyond European communities and become institutionalized in countries such as Australia, India, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore. At the same time, many European countries have experienced migration,and now have broadly based culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Although early education has continued to evolve over time, some fundamental principles about the nature of learning have remained static. In drawing upon cultural–historical theory, this paper seeks to make visible early childhood institutional practices that may no longer be relevant, particularly when western theory and middle-class practices are not representative of the culturally and linguistically diverse communities they serve. In this paper, an alternative model of child development is offeredthattakesintoaccountandvaluesthediversityofchildren’scultural experiences.