Dual Language Immersion

Students have both target language and English language instruction on a daily basis.

  • Students have both target language and English language instruction on a daily basis.
  • Students from both Spanish and Mandarin track are mixed in their English homerooms. They go to their target language class for 80-90 minutes each day for an immersion language learning experience. 
  • In target language class, each grade class offers two levels to meet learners' different needs. In addition to teaching all skill areas in the target language, target language teachers also integrate math, science, social studies and cultural components in their classroom. 
  • Field trips
  • Cultural connections

How Will This Approach Support My Child?

This approach accommodates all learning styles through differentiated instruction specific to the needs of each student, providing them with a solid core foundation in the language of their choice.

For all students, whether native, continuing or new, the goal is to grow in mastery of Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS), which deepens understanding of concepts in grammar and vocabulary.

As students master BICS, we nurture development of Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) through culturally rich, immersive lessons.

Learn more about IB best practices in language instruction here.

What Are the Benefits of This Approach?

This approach expands your child’s social experience. They share their English classes and homeroom classroom experiences with peers outside of their language “track.” Combining children from our two language tracks for homeroom and English classes on a daily basis allows your children to have the opportunity to develop more friendships.

This approach caters to learners’ unique needs in their target language learning journey. It’s friendly to beginners to start learning a new language with intense support from the teacher.

Finally, having students learning in English and target language every day deepens and strengthens language, math, and science skills.

Meet Our Spanish and Mandarin Educators


Sirong Wu 吴思蓉 | Mandarin Language Coordinator & Mandarin Teacher

Sirong holds a Master of TESOL from University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Art in English from Hunan University of China. She is also certified In ESL education. Sirong brings several years of IB PYP Mandarin immersion teaching experience in the U.S.


Maria Roel | Spanish Teacher

María is joining us from the beautiful city of A Coruña, Galicia, in the Northwest of Spain. María has taught in Spain, Italy, the UK, and the US, in the states of Tennessee, Texas, North Carolina, Alaska, and Arizona, where she also coordinated the World Languages and electives department at the district level and implemented the Seal of Biliteracy. In 2022 María earned her doctorate (Ed.D.) in education with a focus on international education. She also has a master’s degree in Spanish Language and Literature and a master’s degree in Law. María lives with her husband, two children, ages 13 and 19, and her three dogs. Outside of school, María enjoys running, playing piano, teaching, and traveling as much as she can! María is looking forward to joining the Pine Street crew to help all students to reach their full potential.


Yaritza Perez | Early Childhood Teacher

Yaritza was born and raised in New York City. She  holds a Bachelor degree in Psychology with a focus on Early Childhood Education. Yaritza has over 10 years of experience working in various school settings. In her free time, she loves working out, visiting museums and discovering new books.


Muqing Hu 胡牧晴 | Mandarin Teacher

Muqing holds an M.A. in Early Childhood Education from Teachers College Columbia University, Initial Certification (birth-grade 2) and Bilingual Extension Certification in Mandarin and a B.A. in International Relations and Political Science from Syracuse University. She is currently enrolled in the Montessori teacher training program at North American Montessori Center. Most recently, she taught for several years Chinese literacy and cultural studies at The Spence School. She also designed curricula for and took charge of the Chinese after-school program in Language and Culture Institute at Spence.

Muqing has taught English and Chinese in a few schools, including Avenues, PS151 Yorkville Community School, and Central Park East II School. She values students' knowledge and respects their own language repertoire. Embracing the normalcy of differences is her belief, play is the key to learning is her slogan, and being a teacher is her calling.


Amelia Xia | Mandarin Teacher

She received her master's degree in communication and culture from the University of Seville in Spain in 2013. She is currently enrolled in an IB PYP course and pursuing certification from Child Development Associates (CDA). She has also acquired further training and certificates over the year and spent four years teaching Spanish and Mandarin in Spain.


Merian Salazar | Spanish Teacher

Merian has bachelor's degree in Communications and holds a Master's in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language from La Rioja University in Spain. She is originally from Caracas, Venezuela and she has been working as a preschool Spanish teacher for six years in different immersion and bilingual programs, including Avenues and HudsonWay Immersion School. 

Her mom was a Kindergarten teacher, and she grew up knowing that early childhood education is the most important and where the values are forged. As a Spanish teacher, Merian loves to share her culture and observe the process of learning the language of her students. She believes that learning a language is an open door to a new world and experiences. 

In her free time, Merian loves to bike in Central Park, spend time with her family and friends, and enjoy cultural performances such as concerts, theater, ballet, and opera. She also loves to try new food and find hidden gems in New York City.


Marcela O'Reilly | Spanish Teacher

Marcela has been a Spanish teacher for the past 8 years, she is delighted to continue her 5th year at Pine Street school.

Marcela has a B.A. in Spanish education from the College of Staten Island CUNY, where she was the Spanish Club representative. She also obtained a Latin American, Caribbean, and Latina/o studies certification. Marcela is also a member of the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society Sigma Delta and has completed her IB Primary Years Program Training, Level III.

Bilingual in English and Spanish, Marcela also has basic Italian knowledge. Originally from Colombia, Marcela relocated with her family to New York. She is passionate about sharing her own stories as well as the best of world literature with her students. Marcela believes that teaching Spanish provides an opportunity to explore culture and a path to make students globally minded people.

In her spare time Marcela enjoys time skating and dancing with her family.


Cindy Qiongwei Rang 让琼玮 | Mandarin Teacher

Cindy holds a M.A. in International Education Development and Family Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has 4 years of teaching experience with both children and adults.


Tianqi Zhang | Mandarin Teacher

Tianqi is a travel enthusiast with a curiosity for exploring different cultures and connecting with people from all walks of life. After completing her Master's in Education in New Zealand, she embarked on a life-changing journey that took her to an IB school for a year. That experience ignited her passion for international education and she decided to further enhance her skills in the vibrant city of Shenzhen. There, she took on the role of a Grade 5 homeroom teacher at another IB school. It was an opportunity for her to grow both personally and professionally, and she embraced it with open arms.

During leisure time, dancing, reading, and hiking are some of her absolute favorite activities, and they bring her immense joy. Tianqi is excited to broaden her horizons, immerse herself in new experiences, and continue her personal and professional growth in the New York City.


Sophie Yuan | Mandarin Teacher

Sophie Yuan is an experienced Mandarin teacher and language and culture education entrepreneur. She brings an authentic and comprehensive teaching philosophy to help her students succeed with a strong belief ——“There is a unique power in every kid”. She has led many international students to excel academically with cultural fluency and a successful learning career. Her class helps students get to where they can be the best with their potential. Sophie creates Chinese language and philosophy magazines to share the authenticity of lithography and cultural elements while hosting cultural workshops in her community. She is a certified yoga instructor and meditation teacher. She loves history and art. She enjoys cooking and painting with creativity and mindfulness.


Yue Le 乐悦 | Mandarin Teacher

Yue holds an M.A. in Bilingual & Bicultural Education from Teachers College Columbia University and a B.S. in Childhood & Early Adolescent Education from Penn State.


Leslie Vaculin | Spanish Teacher

Leslie received her Early Childhood Education degree in Guatemala. She has worked as a preschool and elementary teacher for more than ten years and taught Spanish to Middle and High School students in the Czech Republic for two years. She has completed her Montessori certificate as well as IB Primary Years Programme Category I training.

Leslie grew up in Guatemala City, where her mother was a teacher and father was a school principal. Education has always surrounded her and has been a life passion from an early age. This is her sixth year at Pine Street School, where her daughter is also a student.

Leslie loves doing all the things New York City offers to feed her imagination and creativity. She likes to travel, read, and enjoys volleyball and camping with her friends and family.


Sofia Ubilla | Spanish Teacher

Sofia is originally from Chile, where she taught at a bilingual Elementary teacher for over 5 years at an inquiry-based learning school. She holds a B.A. in Elementary education and a diploma in teaching English as a second language.

What Are the Benefits of Bilingual Education?

Today, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish are the number one and two most spoken languages in the world, and close to 60 percent of the world’s population is bilingual or multilingual.

Even in the United States, which is widely considered to be monolingual, Spanish is the second most spoken language, and Mandarin Chinese is the third. In addition, 20 percent refer to themselves as bilingual, an increase of 140 percent since 1980.

In addition to facilitating cross-cultural communication, speaking more than one language also positively affects cognitive abilities. Researchers have shown that the bilingual brain can have better attention and task-switching capacities than the monolingual brain, thanks to its developed ability to inhibit one language while using another.

Cognitive Consequences of Bilingualism

Recent technological advances have allowed researchers to investigate the brain and how bilingualism interacts with and changes the cognitive and neurological systems. Research has overwhelmingly shown that when a bilingual person uses one language, the other is active at the same time. To maintain the relative balance between two languages, the bilingual brain relies on executive functions, a regulatory system of general cognitive abilities.

Improvements in Learning

Being bilingual can have tangible practical benefits. Bilingual people generally perform better on tasks that require the ability to ignore competing perceptual information and only focus on relevant data, and are better than monolingual people at switching between two tasks.

The improvements in cognitive and sensory processing driven by bilingual experience may help a bilingual person to better process information in the environment, leading to a clearer signal for learning. This kind of improved attention to detail may help explain why bilingual adults learn a third language better than monolingual adults learn a second language.

Economic Edge

Speaking a second language, especially Mandarin Chinese or Spanish, has numerous benefits when it comes time to seek employment. Being bilingual provides more job opportunities as more companies, especially those with international offices, are considering bilingualism a high priority.

Health Benefits

Many studies and research demonstrate that being bilingual can delay many effects of old age, such as the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, for example. Faster stroke recovery and lower stress levels are some other health benefits of being bilingual.

Open-Minded Outlook

“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way” said Frank Smith. Being bilingual can allow you to see the world through different cultural lenses. Speaking two different languages can sometimes give people access to two different personalities. Because they have more than one view of the world already, bilingual people tend to be more open-minded to new experiences and less affected by changes in their environment.

At Home in the World

It is, of course, possible to get around in many Spanish and Mandarin Chinese speaking countries without speaking the language. However, you can experience so much more when you can speak the local language. Communicating with the locals and immersing yourself in the language and culture can enrich and improve your travel experience immeasurably.

Social Aptitude

More often, bilinguals have an improved ability to express themselves and are accustomed to working out ways to make themselves understood. They are able to make friends in more than one language which means more opportunities to meet new people, and enjoy different hobbies and activities. There is a considerable social advantage that can open up many more doors in life when you are able to communicate with people from other cultures.

Facility for Learning Languages

Learning additional languages is easier for bilinguals than monolinguals because language skills are transferred over and reinforce each other. In fact, we find our students in the Spanish immersion program picking up some Mandarin Chinese and the same holds true for our Mandarin Chinese students learning some Spanish!

Pass It On!

What greater gift than being able to pass on your languages to your own children so they can reap the benefits of being bilingual also! Your children receive the best start in life when raised bilingual from birth and languages can be passed on through generations.

Bilinguals Are the Majority

Bilingualism is not a rare occurrence. Over half the world uses more than one language on a daily basis. In several countries, bilingualism is the norm.

When Deciding Between Mandarin Chinese or Spanish...

Everyone should have the chance to learn a second language and reap the benefits of being bilingual. The benefits of bilingualism listed below are available to bilingual speakers in both Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.

Because the language structure of written and spoken Mandarin Chinese is so different from English, some of the cognitive and learning benefits may be more pronounced. In addition, knowing Mandarin Chinese is an impressive resume builder and career opportunities for Chinese speakers are growing rapidly worldwide.

Knowing Spanish is also great for a resume and for career and business opportunities. Spanish- and English-speaking cultures are interwoven throughout history and into the present, indeed Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States. Because of this, bilingual Spanish-speakers will have more opportunities to use and so retain their Spanish language ability.

Whichever language you decide, your child will reap many cognitive, cultural, social, personality, and professional benefits that will serve them and your family well for generations.

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