The Best Bilingual Schools in New York: Public, Private and Enrichment

kids in front of the chalkboard

Let’s talk Bilingual Schools in New York! It’s a global world and parents today are opting to expose their children to a second (or third) language as soon as they can say mama and dada. Educators contend that speaking a second language can improve problem solving and decision-making. Bilingual education advocates say studies reliably show being bilingual has positive effects on the brain. Where better than the melting pot of New York City to find excellent bilingual schools and programs?

Let’s Go Public

For students that speak a language other than English at home and are not yet proficient in English the New York City school system offers educational services. If the school your child attends does not have a bilingual program you may select another school in the same district that does have such a program. New York City has several programs for English Language Learners (ELL) to choose from:

• Transitional Bilingual Education – Instruction is given in two languages. As the student gains proficiency in English the percentage of instruction in English increases.

• English as a Second Language (ESL) – Instruction is given in English with the support of the student’s native language.

• Dual Language – Dual language programs include both English speakers and English Language Learners. The students learn in both English and their home language. Students get half of their instruction in their home language and the other half in English. The goal of the program is for students to learn how to speak, read, understand, and write in two languages, and also learn about and appreciate other cultures.

Students who speak another language at home must take the New York State Identification Test for English Language Learners to determine if they are entitled to support and services to learn English.

Many parents with English speaking children enrolled in the New York City School System are selecting Dual Language programs for their children for a variety of reasons. In our global world many parents feel the additional exposure to another culture and language is helpful, while some critics have claimed that parents whose children do not place in the Gifted and Talented (G&T) schools select Dual Language schooling as just another way of getting a leg up. Generally speaking in New York City children must enroll in schools in their neighborhood, these are called Zoned Schools, but parents can make application to have their child attend another school outside of their district.

According to the City of New York there are some 545 Dual Language programs for students in grades K-12 in the New York City public school system, which includes the boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island. In February of 2019 Mayor de Blasio and School Chancellor Carranza announced the opening of 47 new pre-K Dual Language programs across the city. A statement from the City of New York indicated that the new programs include the City’s first French, Haitian-Creole, Hebrew and Japanese pre-K Dual Language programs. “By offering even more dual-language pre-K programs across the five boroughs, we’re readying our children for the global economy of the future,” says Mayor de Blasio.

The New York City Department of Education encourages parents to check with their assigned school for possible dual language options. You can also visit, for more information. The current list of New York City dual language programs is currently being updated and should be available soon.

Here are a few to get your research on Bilingual Schools in New York started.

P.S. 145 The Bloomingdale School  – Upper West Side

Well known for its music and dance program, this bilingual school that previously had a thriving Spanish dual language program recently added a Russian dual language program.

150 W 105th St., New York, NY


New York City Geographic District 03

Grades: Pre-K to grade 5

Application: Priority give to students in District 03 but if seats are available students from other districts can apply. Call the school directly.

P.S. 242 The Young Diplomats Magnet Academy Harlem

This Magnet school has a dual language program in Italian. The school offers students an International Baccalaureate (IB). The school reports that “students are encouraged to be open-minded towards acquiring a global perspective.”

134 W 122nd St., New York, NY


New York City Geographic District 03

Grades: Kindergarten through grade 5

Application: Contact the parent coordinator, Celeste Ortega, [email protected] or 212-678-2908, ext.1074 to schedule an appointment to visit the school.

P.S./I.S. 218 Rafael Hernandez Dual Language Magnet School – The Bronx

In this Dual Language school students send half their time learning in English and the other half in Spanish. As a Magnet School P.S./I.S. 218 Rafael Hernandez is held accountable by the state and local school board and is funded by the state. Sports and other extracurricular activities are offered.

1220 Gerard Ave., Bronx, NY


New York City Geographic District 09

Grades: Kindergarten through grade 8

Application: Priority give to students in District 09. Find more information about how to apply on their website.

P.S. 75 Emily Dickinson – Upper West Side

This well-regarded school is known for their Dual Language program and their expansive art offerings. This school was the first in New York to join the immersion program, International Spanish Academies in 2012.

735 West End Ave., New York, NY


New York City Geographic District 03

Grades: Kindergarten through grade 5.

Application: Priority is given to students living in District 3. Find a form to fill out on their website to learn about seat availability.

P.S. 311 Amistad Dual Language School – Fort George

This Dual Language School provides that its graduates are bilingual in Spanish and English. Call for information on school tours.

4862 Broadway, New York, NY


New York City Geographic District 06

Grades: Kindergarten to grade 8

Application: Priority is given to students living in District 6 if seat availability is open students from other districts can be accepted. Go to to create an account and fill out an application form.

P.S. 184M Shuang Wen – Chinatown

A bilingual elementary and middle school located in Manhattan’s Chinatown. The school serves mainly Asian families who have a strong desire that their children be proficient in Mandarin and English.

327 Cherry St. New York, NY


New York City Geographic District 01

Grades: Pre-kindergarten to grade 8

Application: For Elementary School admissions call 718-935-20009, for Middle School admissions call 718-935-2398.

M.S. M247 Dual Language Middle School – Upper West Side

The Dual Language Middle School offers a strong academic program in English and Spanish. Sports and other extracurricular activities are also offered.

100 West 77th St., New York, NY


New York City Geographic District 03

Grades: 6,7 and 8

Application: Priority is given to students living in District 3. Find a form to fill out on their website to learn about seat availability.

Bilingual Private Schools in New York

Some families select to enroll their children in dual language programs in a private school setting. While this requires a financial investment many parents say it is well worth the investment. Luckily there are plenty of bilingual schools in New York!

Here are a few to consider:

The École – Flatiron District and Gramercy Park
206 Fifth Ave., New York, NY (Nursery to Kindergarten)
111 East 22nd St., New York, NY (1st – 8th Grade)
Grades: Nursery to 8

At The École, the goal of education is to develop agile minds and open students’ hearts, to give them a bright future in a world filled with possibilities. This belief is at the heart of their uniquely-designed bilingual program, in which students learn to not just speak, read, and write in French and English, but also to think, feel, and act in ways that are informed by two cultures.

HudsonWay Immersion School – Upper West Side

HudsonWay offers Mandarin and Spanish Immersion programs. There’s a Day School as well as after-school and camp programs. All subject matter is taught in the target language as well as English in all major content areas including language arts, literacy, mathematics, science and social studies. They also offer music, visual arts and physical education classes.

175 Riverside Blvd., New York, NY


Grades: Pre-K through elementary grades

Application: See their website for a guided, step-by-step application process.

International Academy of New York – Upper East Side

A bilingual, multi-cultural and diverse school developing culturally-astute, confident and caring students with fluency in Mandarin or Spanish while excelling in literacy and math. The school includes music and art lessons and physical education is required. Lunch is served.

4 E. 90th St., New York, NY


Grades: Pre-nursery (age 2) to grade 8. Currently accepting applications through grade 4.

Application: Submit the application for admission found on their website. Once it is received you will be contacted to schedule a meeting with the Head of School. Financial aid is offered.

Lycée Français De New York – Upper East Side

Lycée Français is an independent bilingual, college prep, day school. Students are – or become – bilingual in French and English. The school provides opportunities as well for student’s artistic and athletic pursuits through a variety of co-curricular and after-school programs.

505 E. 75th St., New York, NY


Grades: Nursery (age 3) to grade 12

Application: The process begins one year in advance in the fall before the start of the next school year. Families are encouraged to attend open houses or to schedule a school visit. See their website for a step-by-step process and application form.

Lyceum Kennedy French American School – Midtown Manhattan

This private international school offers a bilingual program in French and English. The school curriculum follows the guidelines of the French Ministry of Education. They are recognized by the New York State of Regents and are an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) school for the Diploma Programme (DP). There is a school uniform and dress code and several lunch program choices.

225 E. 43rd St., New York, NY


Grades: Pre-K to grade12

Application: See their website for a step-by-step application process including an online application form.

Pine Street School – Financial District

This Green Ivy School offers a dual language immersion program for native Spanish or Mandarin speakers and English speakers that helps students maintain and develop their first language as they learn daily communication skills and literacy skills in a second language. Each classroom has two teachers each working in English or Spanish/Mandarin. Pine Street offers an International Baccalaureate (IB) as well as the IB program Primary Years Program (PYP) for early childhood and elementary school students. The middle school program is new for fall 2020.

25 Pine St., New York


[email protected]

Grades: Preschool (age 2) through middle school grades

Application: Reviewed on a rolling basis. Attending a school tour is part of the admission process. Visit to book a date for a school tour. Start the application process at

Science Language & Arts International School – Downtown Brooklyn & Carroll Gardens

SLA has developed a pioneering scaffolded immersion model to help students achieve fluency in a supportive, stress-free environment. Their model ensures that all students, regardless of prior exposure to the target language, are able to use important everyday vocabulary and structures right away. Children quickly gain the tools to comfortably communicate in the target language, and learning is reinforced through music, role-playing, games, meaningful play, and conversation.

Main Campus (PK to Grade 5): 9 Hanover Place, Brooklyn
Early Childhood Annex (2-4yo): 132 4th Place, Brooklyn

Grades: Nursery – 8

Application: The application process begins the fall before the desired start. Families are encouraged to attend an information session and tour. There is rolling admissions for current-year transfer applicants. See website for a step-by-step process; online application via Ravenna.

Other Choices

Not every family is looking for a dual language program but they would like to offer their child increased exposure to another language and culture. There are several programs in New York City that can provide comprehensive language and cultural instruction.

Here are a few to consider:

China Institute  – Battery Park & Midtown

The School of Chinese Studies at the China Institute teaches children the Mandarin Chinese language and culture through songs, stories, games and art projects in a student-centered classroom environment. Native speakers who are professional language teachers teach classes. Classes follow the academic year and are divided into two semesters from September to June. Each semester consists of 15 weeks. Snacks are included.

40 Rector St., 2nd floor, New York, NY

151 E. 65th St., New York, NY

212-744-8181, ext. 143

Grades: Mandarin Munchkins, ages 18 months to 2 years. After-school programs and Sunday courses for students ages 2 to 17

Application: Limited enrollment on a rolling basis. Schedule an appointment for a 15-minute assessment. Fill out the Inquiry form on their website.

Collina Italiana – Upper East Side

This Italian language and cultural center offers year-round comprehensive language learning and hands-on instruction in the arts. There are four level of childhood instruction staring at age 2. The school also offers workshops, tutoring and private classes for children. Homework help for students studying Italian is also offered.

1556 Third Ave., Suite 603, New York, NY


Ages: Classes divided in to age groups: 2 to 3; 4 to 5; 6 to 8; and 9+

Application: Registration for children’s group and individual classes is ongoing. See their website to take an Italian Language Placement exam.

German-American School – Upper East Side

This is the only German-American after-school program accredited by the New York State Board of Regents. They offer once-per-week after-school German language programs beginning with basic alphabet and phrases through comprehensive grammar, culture, history and conversation.  

Liederkranz Club, 6th floor

6 E. 87th St., New York, NY


Grades: Kindergarten to grade 10

Application: School year enrollment, see registration form on their website.

Instituto Cervantes New York – Midtown

A wide variety of comprehensive Spanish courses for kids and teens taught either after-school, on the weekends or in summer camp programs.

211 E. 49th St., New York, NY


Ages: For ages 4 to 17

Application: Call for registration details.

LeapUp Learning – Upper East Side

LeapUp learning center offers three different programs. Ma Liping (MLP) Chinese for the student who understands and speaks Chinese at home though not as a second language. MeiZhou Chinese (MZ) is a curriculum based on the American Foreign Language Education and Teaching Standard (5Cs). And the Chinese as a second language (CSL) is for students who have not been raised in a Mandarin -speaking environment. Classes meet once a week. A Mandarin Immersion Summer Day Camp is also offered.

1751 2nd Ave., Suite 103, New York, NY


Grades: Kindergarten to grade 5

Application: Contact them for enrollment information.

Planet Han Chinese – Upper West Side & Upper East Side

Founding director, Irene SauKing Coeny, is Chinese-American and the mother to two daughters. Classes are given in Mandarin for all ages of all backgrounds. They offer immersion classes in a variety of age levels from Mommy & Me to teens for fluent and non-fluent speakers, as well as a preschool alternative program. Classes are held once to twice a week.

401 West End Ave., New York, NY

1556 Third Ave., New York, NY


Ages: From infants to teens

Application: Contact them for enrollment information.


Looking for more information about schools in New York? Check out our guide to the Best New York City Private Schools!


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Pusteblume International Preschool

<p>Pusteblume is a licensed, non-profit, independent preschool for children ages 2-5 with German and Spanish language immersion. Our school also offers after-school and enrichment programs for school-age children that are open to students from other schools. The Pusteblume curriculum is built around inquiry and exploration in the classroom, the school community and the vibrant city that surrounds us. Our licensed, native -speaking faculty teaches language,visual arts, music, movement, literacy, science and mathematical concepts in a fun and warm learning environment that cultivates the growth and development of your child.</p> <p>Visit <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl=""></a> to learn more and schedule your personal tour.</p>

Dedimus Potestatem

<p>Dedimus Potestatem provides fun, engaging, academically challenging programs to students in primary, middle, and high school. Programs include Leadership, Debate, Model United Nations, Computer Programming, Financial Literacy, Filmmaking, Philosophy, Model Congress, Mock Trial, Etiquette, Bioethics, Stem and Bioethics, and more. We currently offer both virtual and in-person private, semi-private, and group sessions and after-school programs. Contact us to bring us to your school today!</p> <p>Sessions</p> <p>We currently offer both virtual and in-person private, semi-private, and group sessions as well as after-school programs. To register, visit <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> </a>or email us at <a href="mailto:[email protected]?subject=REGISTER" target="_blank" rel="noopener">[email protected]</a></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Leadership: Middle School ages 10-13, High School ages 14-18</a></p> <p>This is a unique leadership course that gives students the skills they need to succeed in life. Using an activity-based syllabus centered around character traits most sought and admired in leaders (initiative, honesty, self-control, adaptability, empathy, persuasiveness, resourcefulness, diligence, tolerance, determination, generosity, punctuality, courage, reliability, endurance, deference, creativity and integrity) students learn how to deal with situations they encounter in life. These building blocks will ensure they grow to become the leaders so sought after by our burgeoning society. Our grading rubric was adapted with the permission of Neil Mercer, the Director of research and Head of Faculty at The University of Cambridge.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Little Leaders: Primary School Ages 6-9</a></p> <p>Developed by former pre-school and elementary teachers, this ethics-centered program utilizes a play-based method to encourage students to explore and apply soft skills in their daily lives. While cultivating the skills they will need to build strong, successful relationships, they will learn how to find their voice and showcase themselves in the best way. Students will learn to communicate and negotiate so they can be better team leaders and team players. Students will learn how to deal with situations they encounter in life, such as bullying, cheating, conflicts between two or more parties, and more. The inculcation of these values in our children's formative years will ensure they grow to become the leaders so sought after by our burgeoning society.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Speech & Debate</a> (competitive and non-competitive programs available)</p> <p>This online after-school program prepares students for formal and informal presentations. Participants learn to craft and present arguments and inform, persuade, and motivate an audience in a variety of ways. According to the English Speaking Union, debate is a natural fit for students and compliments common core standards. Debate builds literacy and multi-media research skills, fosters critical thinking and expanded perspectives, enhances public speaking skills, increases confidence, trains students to listen effectively, supports diverse learners and strengthens civil engagement and discourse. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Model United Nations (Ages 11-18)</a></p> <p>Model UN simulates the six major organs of the United Nations. Students role play as delegates from a country of their choosing and learn to write and present resolutions based on topics they are passionate about-just as if they were representing member states of the United Nations. We utilize materials from National Model UN and video tutorials to teach students how to write and present position papers, working papers, and draft resolutions. Students use debate and negotiation to enlist the support of other delegates for their resolution. Model UN is a great way to teach students leadership skills like communication, conflict resolution, negotiation, and delegation.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Self Defense and Empowerment</a></p> <p>Developed by a veteran Krav Maga specialist, this self-defense program will focus on the principle of healthy minds in healthy bodies. Students will focus on de-escalation techniques as well as safe and active means of self-defense. Through active games and fun drills, students will learn the disciplined focus, critical thinking, adaptability, and resilience necessary to achieve goals, as well as gain valuable social insights into leadership and teamwork. Students will expend energy and reduce stress while learning to stand and present confidently.</p> <p>Mock Trial (<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Fairy Tale Mock Trial for ages 7-9</a>, regular <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Mock Trial Ages 10-18</a>)</p> <p>Mock trial is a hands-on simulation of the American judicial system. The goal is to help participants acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system, develop analytical abilities and communication skills, display leadership in a court of law, and gain an understanding of their obligations and responsibilities as participating members of our society. Materials for this course are provided by The American Bar Association.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Model Congress: Ages 10-18</a></p> <p>This civics course simulates the legislative process. Students will learn about the electoral process, lobby for issues they are passionate about, draft and deliver bills, amend legislation, debate international policy, and learn how to effectively represent a constituent body of their choosing. We utilize materials from The Constitutional Rights Foundation, ICivics (founded by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor) and the National Model U.S. Congress. These resources have been proven to improve students’ civic knowledge, presentation, and core literacy skills. New research has also shown that the use of the aforementioned materials has also led to increased participation in the democratic process. Our objective in this course is to educate the next generation, nurture and inculcate a passion for civics and history and encourage young people to advocate for themselves.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Philosophy</a></p> <p>The focus of the Philosophy class is to examine and understand the ideas behind the most popular philosophies embraced throughout the world. To do this, students examine ethical situations through the lens of these philosophies and engage in a Socratic style debate. Students are presented with an ethical question and they must identify stakeholders and players within the dilemma, discuss the key moral issues and present opposing viewpoints. This class was built for students who wish to <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">compete in the middle or high school Ethics Bowl</a>. </p> <p><a href="">Money Matters: Financial Literacy for Students</a></p> <p>The Money Matters course is built to help students manage their personal finances, from building credit and loan applications to interest rates and investing strategies. This class will cover the basics of financial health, savings, spending habits, and budgeting. After learning how to store, track, and spend responsibly, students will learn about risk management, APRs, and tax preparation. This class will use real-life examples and teach students how to set and achieve financial goals. This course is ideal for middle and high school students.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">STEM and Bioethics: (Ages 10-18)</a></p> <p>Our STEM program will give kids the opportunity to think critically about science and society, and to practice communicating scientific topics in ways everyone can understand. To be a successful scientist in our modern world, one must not only have a broad understanding of scientific material learned at school, but also the ability to communicate effectively and share that knowledge with others. Each week of this program will build on the previous while also introducing new scientific topics for discussion.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Etiquette (Ages 5 and up)</a></p> <p>Due to increasing popular demand from groups and individuals, we have decided to offer our etiquette course as an eight week after-school class. Students will not only learn how to introduce themselves and their friends, they will explore appropriate language for quotidian and special occasions, how to enter and leave conversations, proper table behavior for different scenarios, effective strategies for conflict resolution and negotiation, the importance of tone, expression, and body language in every social interaction and why manners and soft skills are essential to a successful life.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Speech and Essay Writing: Ages 10-18</a></p> <p>This group class includes eight one-hour online sessions focused on the creation, development, and delivery of informative and persuasive speeches. This program is tailored to the needs of the individual(s) in question and can include essay writing, use of stylistic devices, and persuasive rhetoric and/or instructions on how to craft and deliver a persuasive or informative multidimensional presentation with compelling slides, audio, and videos.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Visual Storytelling</a></p> <p>Multimedia platforms have increasingly become more popular for educators, artists and businesses. Young people all over the world have begun using media to amplify initiatives, educate, share science, poetry, art, movement, culture and more. In this class students will learn to capture brief videos that share their voice and vision with the world.</p> <p>College application course </p> <p>Discover the fundamentals of style, narrative, and theme for the ideal college application essays! In these sessions, you will begin by examining outstanding Personal Statements and by brainstorming your own. Then, move on to draft and edit the specialized supplemental essays for each college on your list. Space is limited to ensure personalized attention.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Academic writing</a> </p> <p>These are sessions focused on academic writing. Our tutors have years of experience in drafting, editing, and teaching essay writing. Each package will include a consultation with our tutors to assess individual needs. </p> <p><a href="">Test Prep: SAT, SHSAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, ASVAB, TACHS + more</a></p> <p>These classes are focused on identifying the quickest and most efficient path toward improving students' standardized test scores. Starting with a diagnostic practice exam, this program will target the key subject matter your students need to master while integrating timing, triage, and practice strategies. We aim to regularly emulate the real-life conditions of tests until students are comfortable working quickly, accurately, and efficiently. Sessions can be one hour or two hours in length, as needed.</p> <p>Computer Programming: Coding for Kids</p> <p>In these sessions, we start by discussing the basics of computer programming, what it is, what it can do, and what it was built on. Then we will begin experimenting with block-based programming languages. Students will learn the basics of computer architecture, binary code, compilers, and algorithms. By the end of the course, students will be able to produce small programs of their own. The cost of materials is not included. This class is available to younger students (Ages K-1) and middle and high school students. </p> <p> </p> <p> </p>

The Knox School

<p>The Knox School is Long Island’s oldest established private school. An inclusive environment provides students with a broad world perspective and a wide range of skills to prepare them for success after high school.  A Knox education unlocks every student’s potential.</p>