This investigation examines changes in teachers’ views of the needs of children in early childhood education (ECE) context in the USA, Russia, and Finland over the past two decades. In addition, it focuses on the teachers’ views about their role in the process of child-rearing within formal ECE institutions. Moreover, the primary purpose of documenting teachers’ views on children’s needs, professional work, and centre-based child care, between these societal contexts from 1991 and 2011, is to better understand points of comparative change. The data was collected from child care centre teachers by applying the qualitative method of focus group discussions. The results suggest great changes both on the micro and macro levels of ECE in the contexts of investigation. Although the results suggest that individual encounters with children are idealized in each society, the economics and values beyond the child care setting define the limits of resources available to implement their pedagogical aspirations.