In Australia, as in many other parts of the world, representations of childhood are ubiquitous in what Nikolas Rose refers to as 'the public habitat of images'. In the education landscape – a term used here to refer to the extensive range of policy-related, pedagogic and promotional sites associated with educational provision, participation and purchase – depictions of children feature prominently, and function as an important means by which dominant discourses of childhood are produced, circulated and maintained. In this article, I analyse images and text from a recent Australian government advertising campaign regarding the proposed national curriculum, in order to explore how familiar images, activities and ideals associated with schooling are implicated in cultural imaginaries of Australian childhood. I consider how notions of order, accomplishment and aspiration function to inscribe and reiterate gendered and racialised discourses through which imagined futures of individual and national prosperity are installed as normative ideals. Copyright © 2011 Symposium Journals.