Einstein Never Used Flashcards has some very good research on the need for balance in preschool academics (including healthy doses of play in the mix). It strikes at the heart of the cult of achievement you see throughout Utah that is attempting force-feed too much academics into 3 year olds. The author, Dr. Roberta Golinkoff is one of the principle authorities in the world on the science behind early childhood development.
The following is the Google summary of Einstein. Link to Amazon.com
Play Is Back Reassuring to parents and educators, "Einstein Never Used Flash Cards" shows why-- and how-- to step away from the cult of achievement and toward a more nurturing home life full of imaginative play and love of learning. Here's the message that stressed-out parents are craving to hear: It's okay to play! In fact, it's more than just okay-- it's better than drilling academics. After decades of research, scientists and child development experts have come to a clear conclusion: Play is the best way for our children to learn. Children who are prematurely pushed into regimented academic instruction display less creativity and enthusiasm for learning than their peers Children who memorize isolated facts early in life show no better long-term retention than their peers. Children who learn through play also develop social and emotional skills, which are critical for long-term success. Somewhere along the line, we've gotten off track by stressing academic products and programs to our preschoolers. Thankfully, Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Dr. Roberta Michnick Golinkoff have a simple remedy for our children that is based on overwhelming scientific evidence from their own studies and the collective research results of child development experts. "Einstein Never Used Flash Cards" goes beyond debunking the myths spread by the accelerated-learning industry. Parents and educators will find a practical guide to introducing complex concepts through smart, simple, and loving play. For every key area of a child's development (speech, reading, math, social skills, self-awareness, and intelligence), you'll understand how a child's mind actually learns. Then you'll discover exercises (40 in all) that will showcase emerging skills and leave your child smiling today-- and prepared for tomorrow.