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Mathematical Arts: Form Drawing

Mathematical Arts: Form Drawing

Unique to Waldorf schools, form drawing is an approach to geometry that begins with simple repetitive ribbon forms in the first grade and becomes more complex by fifth grade.  Its effectiveness is realized in the process, not in the product.  It is the act of drawing that educates, not the result.

In the early grades students begin to draw a form with physical movements before they draw the form on paper.  Children trace a form in the air with their arm or in the air with their eyes closed or by walking out the form in the grass.  From the very first core forms of straight lines and curves, form drawings address spatial orientation, body geography, inner visualization and observation.  To walk a form and then draw it, to keep lines straight, curves smooth, angles sharp, to begin a line in the right place, and stop it exactly where you mean to and to center the form on the page are demanding tasks for the 6 year old.  These lead to foundations for writing and reading by training the eye and hand to work together.

In the later grades, geometric forms further math skills and spatial orientation and running forms help with small motor and body geography skills. Woven forms are introduced and work with forward-backward, estimation, self-movement, balancing the parts, spatial orientation. This type of kinesthetic form drawing encourages visual spatial skills, visual motor skills and body awareness.  It is a definite challenge for kinesthetic awareness.

In the high school, 3 dimensional sculpture circles back to the form drawing work of the earlier grades, working with negative and positive space, and helps to develop more complex skills of inner visualization and design, strong self-movement, flexibility in thinking and balance.

This form of multisensory learning has long lasting benefits for children.  They include a sense for beauty, harmony, and proportion; problem solving and critical thinking skills; creativity and self-confidence.

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