Regarding academics Pica writes, "Kindergarten, according to a study from the University of Virginia, has become 'the new first grade.' And, based on my observations, preschool has clearly become the new kindergarten. All of this is happening despite the abundance of research demonstrating that children enrolled in play-oriented preschools don’t have a disadvantage over those who are enrolled in preschools focusing on early academics. Studies, in fact, have shown that there were neither short-term nor long-term advantages of early academics versus play and that there were no distinguishable differences by first grade. Additionally, fourth graders who had attended play-oriented preschools in which children often initiated their own activities had better academic performance than those who had attended academics-driven preschools."
Pica believes that parents and educators would be wise to remember that, "Childhood is not a dress rehearsal for adulthood, nor is it a race. It is a separate, unique, and very special phase of life."