Rudolf Steiner gave indications for the teaching of form drawing during his lecture courses at Stuttgart in 1919 (Practical Advice for Teachers). Form drawing is one element that is unique to Waldorf education. Even upon introduction to form drawing, teachers see that form drawing is a powerful tool for development in a child’s education.
There are many sound reasons which support the feeling that form drawing is good for children. The simplest and perhaps most straightforward reason is that it develops the fine motor skills as a preparation, and later a support, for writing. It strengthens eye-hand coordination, giving the eye practice at being coachman for the horses, the hands. Form drawing also works in the other direction: The movement of the hand also educates the brain. Furthermore, 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 in a non-intellectual way; it trains the intelligence to be flexible, able to follow and understand a complicated line of thought. The more human beings are trained to think flexibly, the greater the world is strengthened in intelligence. Finally, form drawing really supports the development of the whole being of the child, guiding him or her in a healthy way with certain types of forms brought to the child which are appropriate for his age in the various grades. The sequence of forms given in this book especially meets this requirement.
Teachers should be aware not only of why they are teaching form drawing in the wider sense, but also of what effect a particular form will have on children before presenting it. They can only have this awareness by developing an inward feeling for form, a feeling for the curvature of a line. In a curve lies the will impulse; the stronger the curve, the stronger the will impulse.
Developing a feeling for form, then, develops the will forces. To develop this feeling for form, the hands must be brought to feel the form; we need to see with our hands. We need to describe the feeling of the movement. We need to work through a form until it is incorporated in us; the drawing itself is really only a trace, an echo, of our process of movement. Although we wish to achieve a “certain perfection” in the drawing of the form., it is the process which is of greater importance. If the process has been properly worked through, the product will be good.