Local preschoolers host mini-SXSW to show off music, tech, film skills

Williamson County
teacher showing kid film

A student and teacher examine a roll of film they pulled from a disposable camera on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (KXAN Photo/Chris Davis)

LEANDER, Texas (KXAN) — South by Southwest (SXSW) might have been canceled this year, but that’s not stopping some local experimenters from presenting their own festival showcases in miniature — very miniature.

Students from 10 local preschools are exploring science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) activities this week in preparation to present their new knowledge to their parents Friday.

At the Goddard School Leander, they’re calling it Goddard Fest.

“It’s a music, art and film festival so that the parents can come and see everything that the kids are learning throughout the week,” said Alissa Harritt, the school’s owner.

Whether it’s playing instruments, making a robot move and paint or taking apart disposable cameras to understand how film works, all 200 students in the school’s programs are involved in some way with the showcase.

“And then we have a movie premiere,” Harritt said. “All week long the kids work on a movie called ‘A Day in the Life of a Goddard Student.'”

Students combine two art forms, drumming along to a beat on tables covered in paint, in one classroom participating in “Goddard Fest.” (KXAN Photo/Chris Davis)

The schools are focusing on science, film and art activities to give kids early exposure to what they’ll encounter growing up around the Austin area.

“Technology is something that’s really been up-and-coming in the past few years in early childhood,” Harritt said.

Goddard campuses in Austin, Georgetown, Round Rock, Lakeway, Pflugerville and Cedar Park are also hosting festival events this week, hosting activities like coding, flying drones, and learning about 3D printing.

teacher showing kid film
A student and teacher examine a roll of film they pulled from a disposable camera on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (KXAN Photo/Chris Davis)

SXSW alternatives

After the city of Austin declared a local disaster Friday, canceling SXSW, alternatives to the international conference started popping up to mitigate the worst local economic effects of the cancellation and to provide events for the people who were unable or unwilling to change their travel plans.

Educators already in town for the SXSW EDU conference scheduled to start Monday put together two days of speakers and presentations at an alternative venue, calling it AltSXSWedu.

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