Teachers at the Old Town School

John Francisco


John Francisco has been working extensively with children with autism for the past ten years – including three years with the Red Kite Program at Chicago Children’s Theatre (CCT) as a performer and creative contributor of sensory-based interactive theatrical experiences for children with autism and their families and as an educator-administrator in several educational initiatives for students with autism and their instructors.


As an educator, he has served as Curriculum and Camp Director of Camp Red Kite, working with artistic director, Jacqui Russell, in supervising a staff of 20+ in creation and implementation of a day-camp for children with autism. In this role he interviewed and managed staff, interns, and peer mentors, and provided oversight in the development of the arts-based curriculum focusing on four disciplines: visual arts, drama, music, and dance/movement. In addition he has served as lead music teacher and lead drama teacher and worked with Chicago Public School teachers in conflict resolution, crisis management and behavior modification for campers. He also is a co-leader and developer of CCT’s Polk Workshops for Chicago Public School teachers and administrators-- using drama in the classroom to promote the development of social skills, emotional recognition and expression, and as a tool in behavior modification for special needs students. Finally, he was the lead teacher and administrator of HOPE Institute’s After-School Art Program, where he developed an arts-based after-school program and curriculum for a program serving 60+ children, including many children with disabilities. As a performer, he has been a creative contributor to the development of two sensory-focused plays designed for children and families with autism, collaborating on creating the scheduled structure and scripts as well as writing musical compositions for the pieces.


In addition to his on-going involvement with CCT, John also works at Erikson Institute: Graduate School in Child Development as Student Services Coordinator, plays double-bass in BonJour Mon Ami, a country folk band, and acts in various theatre around Chicago. He once taught wee ones to be superheroes at The Menomenee Club.

Started at the Old Town School in December of 2011

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The Old Town School of Folk Music, Inc.
4544 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago IL 60625  •  773.728.6000