There must be something in the air at the moment as signs are springing up all over our house. Visitors would be intrigued by the abundant signs, from the handwritten decorated sign on the kitchen door, welcoming you to the Italian Lounge Diner restaurant  to the sign on the wall emphatically instructing you to take  a seat in the lounge NOT THE KITCHEN. Hand decorated placemats signal who should sit where at the table and my office features a job satisfaction questionnaire neatly written on a whiteboard! Upstairs the signs continue ‘Mummy and Daddy’s’ bedroom door is a feast for the eyes with eight separate signs spelling out We ♥ U. The trend continues with welcome signs and arrows on the landing walls and yet more signs on my six year olds door proudly stating I AM ZACH complete with sword pictures. Subtlety is the name of the game in my nine year olds bedroom, with a ‘secret’ area created behind the door for displaying messages from her special friends. 

In case you’re wondering the signs are not the fall out after a major argument or part of a sponsored silence! They are not a substitute for talking or body language, both of which are evident in abundance in our house! Nor do they share a common theme, but rather a sophisticated repertoire of communication. Some seek to control and influence the child’s environment and routines; some to convey empathy and love; some provide a statement of fact and affirmation; and still others a stepping stone into a wonderfully fertile world of imagination.

Research shows the literacy benefits of surrounding children in a print-rich environment, especially one that has resonance for them as presumably one created by children themselves would have.  We also know how self affirming it is to see our own efforts displayed for all to see as well as receiving positive messages from loved ones. For children writing needs to be relevant, rooted in children’s own reality and have a purpose. That would seem to be the case in my home as the many holes in the doors and walls bear testament to!

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