We can use visual narrative methodology to understand child development in its historical sense by looking to the past to understand the present. In child development it is important to account for external culture and historical influences (Vygotsky, The collected works of L.S. Vygotsky. (Prologue by Carl Ratner): vol. 5. Child psychology. 1998 Publishers, Kluwer Academic/Plenum, Boston/Dordrecht/London/Moscow, 1987). The historical dynamic implies a need to see changing practices in motion, iteration and transformation over time. The study reported in this chapter took place in an Australian community pre-school, where I had taught (1976–1979). Returning as a researcher in 2005–2008, the past appeared present in phenomena such as the boat in the yard. Visual narrative data around the boat from interview transcripts, photographs, archival records and field notes were juxtaposed to form a methodological dialectic. To conceptualise the dynamic-forms and transformations of the boat in relation to external cultural-historical influences, a new tool to interpret a methodological dialectic, the past-present dialectic, was created. Applied to analysis of visual narrative data, this tool revealed hidden cultural-historical influences in child development through showing institutional practices around changing forms and uses of the boat over time.