Montessori Dept. debuts podcast

Photo courtesy of Xavier University | Xavier’s new podcast, Montessori Converstions, engages professors and parents alike in dialogues about topics debated in Montessori education.

Montessori Conversations (MonCon) is a Xavier-run podcast that discusses topics at the forefront of the Montessori education field and is funded by a two-year grant from Xavier Women of Excellence (WOX). Montessori is a multi-stage educational pedagogy where teachers who are familiar with the child’s social and cognitive development guide them as they engage with an educational environment. According to the podcast website, “the goal is to share what is new in the field, dive into specific aspects of the world of Montessori and talk to experts in the field.” The podcast is hosted by Jill Sagerman and Julie Kugler-Ackley.

The podcast, which can be found at, is set for two seasons over two years with episodes that are released every Thursday. Each season is nine episodes long. The podcast is set up to reflect what the audience wants to hear. “Our audience is mostly Montessori teachers and parents as well as those interested in educational outcomes,” said Senior Teaching Professor Julie Kugler-Ackley. “We conducted a survey, and it seems like parents are expecting to hear about topics like Montessori research, nature and art.” The MonCon website also has a feedback tab.

The first episode of MonCon is on the topic of dementia. Kathy Farfsing, Montessori Dementia Program Coordinator, discusses how she is utilizing Montessori techniques and philosophy to help improve the quality of life for people in living communities and in a home care environment suffering from cognitive decline. Kathy Farsing spoke specifically about how Montessori practices are incorporated into opportunities for people with dementia to plan out tasks that they are willing and able to do.

The podcast is produced in collaboration with the Xavier’s Digital Media Lab (DML). The DML staff provides technical know-how in the form of editing, recording and graphic design expertise. Xavier students are also involved in the creation of the podcast. Brittany Wells is a student producer, as well as Bryan Berwanger, who composed and recorded the podcast’s introduction song.

The podcast also provides alumni and current students a view of what is going on around the Xavier Montessori department. “One of the plans for the season is to include voices from the field where we talk to current students,” said Kugler-Ackley. “We want listeners to see the broad world of the Montessori field.” According to Kugler-Ackley, “The podcast is looking to improve the experience for Xavier students studying Montessori education now and in the future.”

By: Joseph Cotton | Staff Writer