While visiting various preschools in the past 5-6 years, I've heard many comments like the one your daughter's teacher made. Before that time, I never did. In light of the Common Core standards at elementary schools, the new crop of early childhood educators is forced to approach preschool in a much narrower way—primarily as academic preparation for kindergarten.
Based on what they learned in their early childhood education courses, most teachers fully support preschool as a place for play, exploration, imagination, and interaction. Sadly, though, they lack the authority to offer it that way. In the current climate, early academic learning is considered to be extremely advantageous with politicians and taxpayers demanding to see results.
Teachers at publicly-funded preschools such as Head Start have a whole laundry list of assessments and outcomes that they must follow. Even those who work at private preschools are under tremendous pressure from parents to prepare their students for kindergarten. Preschool directors and teachers too often hear: “I'm not paying to send my kid to preschool just to play!”
With that being said, I have sympathy for the plight of your daughter's teacher. I'm sure she understands that her comment doesn't mean a thing to her students but probably uttered them out of anxiety. She may have intentionally spoken those words for the ears of adults in the classroom (parent-helpers, the director) who are pushing her to prepare the class for kindergarten.
Instead of addressing this specific remark, I'd let her know how much you value play at preschool. If more parents like you would let their voices be heard, we could return to the days when preschool was child-centered. The research clearly supports play, exploration, imagination, and interaction over alphabet, circle time, and workbooks. If passionate moms and dads advocate for change, we can surely make it happen. You may want to read my article entitled: ”Why Circle Time at Preschool Gets Overused When Small Groups Are Better.”