In looking at work for the first grade, following Steiner`s indications, we would begin with two lines: the straight and the curved. The first year is the year when the child gains uprightness - so in this posture the child actually "draws" this form with her upright body. So you see it`s not just about drawing a line or letters or writing words... the reasons Steiner set forth for his specific methods of teaching go much deeper and as a Waldorf home educator you really do need to do the homework to understand completely what is going on. You must have a real understanding of coordination, movement, senses... the human ego and will forces and the soul force. Waldorf is about willing, thinking, feeling and all of this is going on in your child at all times! Physical movement with the child`s entire body should always precede any attempt at putting anything on paper. The child should be asked to stand straight with their arms straight above their heads. They should be able to run a straight line forward. They should attempt it with their eyes closed, then walk the line backwards and so on. Then they should draw the line in the air in front of them, and practice drawing it with their arms, hands, legs... A Ribbon stick is a wonderful tool for this practice.
Most Waldorf students learn to read or write without ANY pressure or anxiety. Most do not need to be "taught" how to read, but learn on their own, naturally and joyfully. The Waldorf school environment is permeated by language and literature and all subjects are presented first through the spoken word. As a result, Waldorf students develop a deep appreciation for language in all of its forms, and they become highly skilled in its many applications.
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.