Monday, November 28, 2022

Mommy and Me Bilingual STEM program at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum

A resent research has demonstrated that positive cognitive gains are associated with learning a second language in childhood.

Starting from this particular statement the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum has decided to initiate a STEM bilingual program for children between two and a half and four years old in a true bilingual environment.

Although many people think that knowing and learning a second language at the same time can be confusing for young minds, it has been demonstrated totally the opposite. Jim Cummins, a languages theorist, stated that “two languages used by an individual, though on the surface apparently separate, function though the same central cognitive system”. This means that every notion learnt in one language is assimilated and helps in improving the general knowledge of a person. Same concept is endorsed by Threshold theory; the two languages coexist in equilibrium.

Other two experts, Peal and Lambert affirmed that “it has been demonstrated the existence of a positive correlation between bilingualism and high intelligence quotient”. The bilingualism help to develop mental agility and the formation of abstract concepts, the development of thought process, organization skills, reasoning, visual and spatial skills, intercultural education ad metalinguistic capacity.


For these several reasons, that testify the positive results and benefits of knowing a second language, the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum has decided to offer this unique program to the community of Staten Island. The STEM bilingual program called “Mommy and Me” is a program generously sponsored by Richmond County Saving Foundation and promoted by Staten Island Parent Magazine. Thanks to RCSF, the museum has been able to offer the classes for free to 10 children selected by a lottery system.

The program has a length of 8 weeks, and each class of an hour is run every Wednesday morning, from 10 to 11, in the art exhibit gallery.

Being an Italian-American museum, seemed most natural to teach Italian, and having been the house of Antonio Meucci, the true inventor of the telephone, what else could we promote but STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

The idea of combining these two topics, apparently very different, is dictated by the conception that the higher the level of development in the first language is, the easier the development of the second language will be.


Elisabetta Grasso
Elisabetta Grasso

Every class is taught by two bilingual and Italian native speaker teachers Elisabetta Grasso and Maria Grazia Candela and is supervised by the School Program Coordinator of the museum, Marianna Randazzo. The program is based on an interactive and fun approach to the scientific and linguistic worlds.

The acquisition of a new terminology in two languages is based on songs, activities, games, visual material, group and cooperative work and storytelling. Each new class builds on previous topics in order to make it easier, through repetitions, the acquisition of new topics and vocabulary.

So sing along with the “La canzone degli amici pesciolini” (The Little Fishes’ Song), learn about “Il coccodrillo come fa?” (How the Crocodile Does?), and get your numbers, shapes and colors at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum Mommy and Me program.

For more information contact Marianna Randazzo at

Tiziano Thomas Dossena, Direttore Editoriale della rivista.

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