This paper reviews some of the ways in which early childhood professionals in England discuss aspects of practice in nurseries for preschool age children. The ways in which professionals talk about and react to early childhood practice tell us much about contemporary understandings of such practice and how concepts and policies developed over time are being interpreted and translated on the ground. The data for the study were obtained using a video observation method that asks small groups of selected and knowledgeable people to make spontaneous comments about elements of professional practice, both national and cross-national, that they view on a video. One of the emergent themes from this 'talk' was a discourse around children's independence and choice in early childhood services such as childcare centres. This discourse is discussed with reference to the wider discourses on 'independence', contrasting current debate in England with that in other European countries.
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