Niños y Niñas Bilingües y Biculturales


Niños y Niñas Bilingües y Biculturales is a program in which college students of Spanish Conversation and Composition I and IIW- CE deliver lessons on basic vocabulary, geography, and cultural features of Spanish-speaking countries to English-speaking preschool children ages 3 to 5 in the YMCA-Duquesne Child Development Center. This program is linked to MLSP 301W-CE (fall) and MLSP 302W-CE (spring). Students and professors bring the content to preschoolers from a comparative and contrastive perspective. Students present activities to the young preschoolers that compare their culture with the culture of various Spanish-speaking countries with the hope that the little ones find differences, but also many similarities.

The underlying goal of this program is to show children that we are not as different to other cultures as we think we are. Current research suggests that children, including those with special needs, are capable of a learning foreign language from their earliest months of life, and this language challenge benefits learners in multiple ways, it improves cognitive abilities, influences achievement in other disciplines, and results in higher reading and math test scores. To teach the cultural lessons students used the "learning by teaching" pedagogical method coined by the Russian psychologist Vygotsky. Students researched and reflected on the cultural content as they adapted lesson plans to teach the younger learners. "The one who does the talking, does the learning" (Vygotsky, 1932) may best summarize the point of this pedagogical strategy. Data from students' reflective essays showed that the sessions benefited both the preschool and collegiate students linguistically and culturally. The second week of each February students present cultural differences of the Valentine's Day festivity in different Spanish-speaking countries to preschoolers, while teaching vocabulary related to positive emotions. The program Niños y Niñas Bilingües y Biculturales has been functioning every semester for two full weeks since Fall 2013. In 2016 the program was awarded with the SANS Inc./Mead fellowship supported by Northeast Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Association (NECTFL) for the creative, effective and cooperative way to involve the community in learning Spanish.


Teach children Spanish language and explain cultural similarities and differences


For students:

  • Conduct research cultural topics through interviews with native speakers
  • Development of cultural awareness
  • Understanding and practice of the pedagogical method "learning by teaching"

For children:

  • Exposure to foreign language
  • Awareness of cultural differences and similarities between USA and Spanish-speaking traditional festivities 
Fall 2015 Photos 


Fall 2016 Photos


Spring 2016 Photos


Spring 2018 Photos



Professor Lucia Osa-Melero teaches MLSP 302W-CE Composition and Conversation 


Duquesne University News - 2016 
The Duquesne Duke - 2016 
TribLive - 2016 
El Levante el Mercantil Valenciano - 2016


SANS Inc./Mead 2016 fellowship supported by Northeast Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Association