School Partnerships

The Old Town School of Folk Music brings the joy and power of the arts to more than 2,500 school children each year through its Education Outreach Programs.

Students experience in-depth arts learning in music, dance, and more through sequential, skill-based residency programs. Old Town School maintains that a quality arts education is a birthright, and is committed to reducing geographic and socio-economic barriers through accessible education programs that welcome every child.

Artist-in-Residence Program

Through the Artist-in-Residence program, schools can access relevant, meaningful community music and dance from around the world, including Latin Percussion, Harmonica Orchestra, Afro-Caribbean Dance, Jug Band Ensemble, Mexican Folk Dance, and much more. Old Town School's expert teaching artists focus on individual skill development, ensemble-building, and critical thinking, and empower children with the tools for creative self-expression. Students learn to identify and value their role as art-makers within the context of both new and familiar cultures.

Wiggleworms-in-Residence Program

The Wiggleworms-in-Residence program is a long-standing successful partnership between Old Town School of Folk Music and Carole Robertson Center for Learning in Chicago. Since 2000, Old Town School has collaborated with CRCL to prepare infants, toddlers and preschoolers from under-served families for success in school and life by introducing them to the joy of music. As the program introduces young children to the joy of making music themselves, it fosters confidence, creativity and cooperation. Through the celebration of music and the sharing of cultural traditions, Old Town School strives to build strong bonds between children, teachers and families.

Guitars for Growth

Old Town School's Guitars for Growth program serves incarcerated students at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center and other at-risk communities. Serving both arts education and rehabilitative purposes, this program aims to support student development in three areas: Fundamental Guitar Language and Play; Historical and Emotional Empowerment; and Evolving Awareness and Stewardship. Old Town School works with students to build connections to their musical heritage and traditions, and equip them with goal-setting, self-management and future orientation skills to carry their lives forward.

Old Town School is delighted to partner with the CPS Office of Arts Education and Ingenuity, Inc. in support and implementation of the CPS Arts Plan.


  • Seabury Foundation
  • Speh Family Foundation
  • JCCC Foundation
  • Deupree Family Foundation
  • D'Addario Foundation
  • Crown Family Foundation
  • Steans Family Foundation
  • Douglas and Catherine Knuth

Education Outreach Contact: Melissa Mallinson · 773-751-3337

Education Outreach Partners 2016

  • Belmont-Cragin Elementary School
  • Calmeca Academy of Fine Arts and Dual Language
  • Carole Robertson Center for Learning
  • Chicago House and Social Service Agency
  • Communities in Schools - Chicago
  • Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center
  • Daniel C. Beard Elementary School
  • Edward N. Bouchet Math & Science Academy ES
  • Edward N. Hurley Elementary School
  • Ellen Mitchell Elementary School
  • Galileo Math & Science Scholastic Academy ES
  • Ingenuity, Inc.
  • John B. Murphy Elementary School
  • John C. Burroughs Elementary School
  • John C. Coonley Elementary School
  • Jordan Elementary Community School
  • Josephine C. Locke Elementary School
  • Joyce Kilmer Elementary School
  • Nancy B. Jefferson Alternative High School
  • New Field Elementary School
  • Newton Bateman Elementary School
  • Peter Cooper Elementary Dual Language Academy
  • Portage Park Elementary School
  • Ravenswood Elementary School
  • Rush Day School
  • Sidney Sawyer Elementary School
  • Simpson Academy High School for Young Women
  • William G. Hibbard Elementary School
  • William P. Nixon Elementary School

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