The whole belief can be compared to the observation of child`s speech. It goes from baby talk to more articulate speech. The child isn`t born speaking! Reading and writing are technical and mechanical skills which are more naturally and appropriately learned at a later stage of the child`s development. The value lies in the child getting a good foundation, where all of his cognitive and creative capacities are allowed to develop before being pushed to "stay within the lines". An interesting but little known fact is also that Steiner said that cursive writing should precede printing words..! (All about the forms again.) But generally, in American schools, cursive writing is not taught until the third grade because of the American view of learning to read. So, in effect, to keep up with the American standards of reading - this very important part of learning has been tossed aside due to pressures from outside sources! The current philosophies of the modern and mechanistic world are aimed at seeing early results. As a result they have devised one-sided, left brained achievement tests that have become the indicator of success or failure in education. These tests, as we all know, are useless. Yet they are a representation of the current system in place.
This is also why the introduction of letters is ALWAYS accompanied by certain form drawn - because the child sees and understands the picture. The young child lives in a world filled with imagination where animals can talk, fairies and witches live, and all kinds of wonderful things happen. When playing with a stick he sees it in turn as an aeroplane or a train, a man, etc. We must recognize the world of fantasy and use it in our teaching. The child will learn far more quickly and easily because he has not been forced to work in an adult way with concepts and facilities that have not yet matured, it will have a healthy influence on his later life. Drawing and writing between the lines is an adult concept. It may appear that the writing looks neat and all organized to us, but are we doing a service to the soul and will forces of our child? Are we allowing the child to fully experience the form of the letters? These are the questions we must ask ourselves.
A growing number of schools is teaching cursive letter formation right from the start. There are a number of advantages to this: Children only have to learn one way to write letters so they get lots more practice in the desired style. Children are not taught `bad` habits that they will have to unlearn later. Cursive letter shapes are more distinctive than print which reduces the chance of reversal mix-ups e.g. b/d. Cursive from the start is recommended by many dyslexia specialists. There is no messy transition stage to dent children`s confidence as they progress from print to cursive. Children need to be given lots of opportunity to write. The first word most kids will want to write is their own name. Parents can help by providing a good handwriting model for children to trace over at first, then later to copy. One way is to write the child`s name using a light color then the child can trace over it with a darker color.