Mr. John, aka John Francisco, has worked as a teaching artist for the past fourteen years. Serving children of all ages and abilities, his work has spanned a wide variety of settings across multiple artistic disciplines (music, drama, dance, visual arts, playwrighting, etc.)
Most recently, John was an instructor at the Old Town School of Folk Music– teaching Wiggleworms, kid’s guitar and piano, and elementary music instruction for the Northshore Academy Elementary, where he worked with children struggling with emotional, social, and behavioral demands of school. In addition, he was contracted through Old Town School to perform for children and families in Chicago-land hospitals, at large-scale events like the Square Roots Festival or the Milleneum Park Family Tent, and at countless birthday parties.
John has also worked extensively with children with special needs – including six years with the Red Kite Project at Chicago Children’s Theatre (CCT) where he was a performer and creative contributor of sensory-based interactive theatrical experiences for children with autism and their families. For four years, he served as Curriculum Developer, Camp Director and Lead Music/Drama Teacher for Camp Red Kite, CCT’s daycamp for children with autism. He also was 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, in 2011, he was the lead teacher and administrator for CCT at HOPE Institute’s After-School Arts Program.
For many years, John worked in Student Services at Erikson Institute, the premier graduate school in child development. He has taught in early childhood settings (KC Academy of Early Childhood Education,) in arts organizations (Lifeline Theatre, House Theatre Chicago,) and in community organizations (Menomonee Club for Boys and Girls.)
John is a professional actor, is an Artistic Associate at About Face Theatre, and has performed in over 50 plays/musicals throughout his career. He also writes plays, stories, and songs for children and families.