‘Path of the Little People’ is an expansive interpretative trail that combines themes of nature, history, music and renewable energy which are underpinned by stories of the ‘Little People’.
Since January 2017, over 1500 children and young people with Additional Support Needs, predominately Autism Spectrum Disorder, have helped construct a unique sensory path in the forest.
“I’ve never seen them (the young people) talking and encouraging this much before!”
Lanark Grammar School
The trail engages two distinct groups in our local community
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) children aged 6 – 12 years
The trails activities help ASD children have fun while overcoming challenges with social communication and cognitive learning.
Young People aged 12 – 24 years referred to Wiston Lodge
These may be individuals looking to gain additional experience which could support them into the world of work or further training. The young people have built many of the path structures, giving them ownership over the project whilst learning valuable life skills.
Groups have helped to build a drum circle, percussion play zone, Viking boat, giant mud kitchen, gold panning zone, replica Crannog and a beautiful performance stage. The path is also dotted with woodland animal structures and glow-in-thedark fairy houses!
Through support from our funders BBC Children in Need, Tesco: Bags of Help and Big Lottery: Young Start; we have engaged children with ASN in educational programmes based around our new trail. These programmes are both bespoke to the groups and child-led; allowing children’s imagination to flourish in this unique sensory environment. The programmes we run are based around the Curriculum for Excellence with a focus on nature discovery, history, music and renewable energy.
A good balance between encouraging the young people to take part and push themselves and accepting when they did not want to have a go. The activities were suitable for them and accessible to all. We returned to see the path that we contributed towards last year. They had a stage in the woods so a few of our Angels took the chance to entertain us – FANTASTIC – what else needs said!!
Environmental Quests, animal trails, bug and tree identification, building animal habitats, pond dipping, mud kitchen and forest skills.
Rhythmical Sound Sanctuary using the percussion zone and drum circle and Story Telling Journey’s where the forest comes alive with sound.
Travel Through Time
Historical Treasure Quests, gold panning at the Water-Rill, firing the trebuchet and journeying from Stone-Age to Vikings exploring the Crannog and Viking Boat.
Discovering the powers of renewable energy through our wind turbine and hydrogen fuel cell as well as panning for gold and local geography.
They had the freedom to make their own decisions and communicate with peers to help solve problems. I think this freedom allowed the children to operate outside their comfort zone and interact with others in a meaningful way. As a teacher working with autistic children it was fantastic to see the quality and quantity of interactions between children who would normally find this difficult in a classroom or school setting.
Hareleeshill Primary School
The Path of the Little People couldn’t have happened without funding from BBC Children in Need and Tesco Bags of Help as well as ongoing funding from National Lottery Awards for All.