The Association of Teachers and Lecturers conference in Harrogate heard some schools drew up lesson plans for playtime while parents sought extra tuition to coach their children for national curriculum tests.
Delegates criticised a new pre-school curriculum emphasising the three Rs and called on ministers to consider delaying the school starting age. They said "pushy" parents were regarding literate young children as status symbols and called on the Government to consider putting off the start of formal school to the age of six or seven.
Under government guidelines covering education from three to five, published earlier this year, children will be set more than 60 aims - including detailed targets for reading, writing and arithmetic.
The guidelines are out for consultation but are intended to come into force next year.Reuse content