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.
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.
In Waldorf Schools, one has to consider Rudolf Steiner`s beliefs and views about form drawing. Form drawing is the basis for the development of fine motor skills as a preparation for writing. Remember, the movement of the hand also educates the brain. From the book Form Drawing Grades One through Four: "It is part of the evolution of art and, as such, develops the aesthetic sense and a feeling for form. It also teaches thinking but not in a non-intellectual way; it trains the intelligence to be flexible, able to follow and understand a complicated line of thought." A child experiences the forms and this develops the will forces. It is a way of "seeing" with the hands. Rudolf Steiner said "the line is the subject and not a picture of something in the outer world". This is also why when form drawing you should not allow the child to color in between the forms and lines. Children in Waldorf schools learn very significantly through the arts.