Pushing young children into learning too much too soon is more likely to produce stressed-out toddlers than high achievers, say nursery experts. This setting of targets for three to five-year olds could lead to symptoms of anxiety, such as tantrums and bed-wetting, rather than achieve accelerated learning, says the report.
"Young and vulnerable children are often intimidated by an early start to their schooling and may revert to bed-wetting, nightmares or show other classic symptoms of stress.
"Rather than improving the abilities of children entering the formal years of learning at primary school, the National Association of Primary Education has cautioned that "a lowering of the standards achieved in primary education could well result".
Giving the example of learning a nursery rhyme as an activity that could combine pleasure with finding out about numbers, she said the government's proposals were aimed at ensuring "appropriate" teaching for the early years. Three-year-olds would not be under pressure to learn lessons that were beyond their reach, she said, but would be encouraged with basic skills such as speaking, say the experts.