Kulam for Counselors in Training and Teaching Assistants

Helping CITs and Teaching Assistants navigate a new setting

A new Moving Traditions program for counselors-in-training (CITs) and teaching assistants (TAs) in Jewish contexts helps guide future staff members through eight essential conversations regarding their role in promoting the wellbeing and emotional development of children. 

The program gives any supervisor of CITs or TAs an easy-to-use curriculum that covers topics including empathic listening, communication, gender codes, peer pressure, setting boundaries, giving feedback, consent, and the role of mentorship.   For each session there are guides to designing conversations around the topic, personal explorations for staff to consider, and multiple ways to explore Jewish values connected to the underlying issues. The program is designed so that even if you have only 45-60 minute time slots with a small group, you can engage them in a meaningful professional development experience that will support their emotional wellbeing and support them in caring for children.

How it works:

Moving Traditions will train any staff using or supervising the program with a one-hour orientation, give them online access to the curriculum portal (the portal allows you to construct your own session and has built in cut and paste functions), and provide your organization with ongoing support as needed. We also ask all partners to speak with us after they have trained their staff and seen the impact so that we both can learn from the experience and refine the curriculum for future users.   

Ready to take the next step?

Still have questions? Schedule a tour of our Curriculum Portal with one of our Regional Directors. Or, if you’re ready to become a partner, get started on the application.

CIT/TA Program Objectives

Participants will . . .

  • Feel better prepared to provide guidance, care and mentorship in their role as CIT/TA 
  • Develop communication skills including how to speak up, actively listen, and give feedback 
  • Increase and practice skills in de-escalating conflict and boundary-setting 
  • Understand when to handle a situation and when to ask for help 
  • Actively participate and share their thoughts with the group 
  • Better understand the social emotional lives of the children with whom they will be working

Curriculum Outline

Session TitlePurposeSummaryObjectives
Communication 101Help CITs/TAs to define their role and develop communication skills  
* An important first session to introduce the module and manage expectations 
Participants begin to explore the expectations of the job, affirm their instincts, and think through how to respond in various scenarios.    Understand their responsibilities and expectations as a CIT/TA
Develop hopes and goals for their work
Feel assured and prepared to serve as a CIT/TA 
Managing ResponsibilitiesHelp CITs/TAs to know what their role is and when to ask for helpParticipants reflect on their own experiences as campers delineating how that is different from being a CIT/TA, and evaluate what falls within the scope of their new responsibilities.  Understand their responsibilities and expectations as a CIT/TA
Recognize as a CIT/TA when to seek support from a counselor staff member or senior staff member
Identifying StressorsHelp CITs/TAs to understand the social and emotional lives of campersParticipants turn their focus to the children with whom they work and the possible motivations for their behavior. — Understand different factors influencing their own behavior and children’s behaviors
Use strategies for managing their reactions to children’s behaviors through increased self-awareness and self-regulation
Apply a deeper sense of responsibility for children’s well-being
Noticing Yourself and OthersHelp CITs/TAs understand group dynamics and think through interventionsParticipants learn to pay attention to the situation around them as well as what is going on inside themselves, and then take action. Notice group dynamics more effectively
Implement ways to redirect group dynamics as needed
Understand their role as a CIT/TA to lead a group
Personal Boundaries, Communication, and ConsentHelp CITs and TAs to take steps to set boundaries and be supportiveThrough a series of games, participants experience and reflect on three types of physical interactions: Positive, negative and supportive. They practice boundary setting and appropriate physical interactions. Explore the concept of personal space and reflect on what happens to personal space in a group setting
Practice navigating the basic elements of positive, physical connection
Role model clear communication and boundary setting
Learn ways to facilitate positive physical connection and boundary setting for others
Feedback and AccountabilityHelp CITs and TAs to speak up and take initiative   Participants learn to distinguish between complaining and feedback, and practice how to anticipate problematic situations. Develop skills on how and when to offer feedback
Understand their role in proactively addressing issues before they become problems
Explore the new level of accountability that comes with their role
De-Escalating ConflictHelp CITs/TAs to intervene in conflictParticipants learn how to disrupt behavior and redirect energy.— Understand the different kinds of conflict that may arise in a group of children
Practice when and how to de-escalate conflict between children
Consider their own intervention style as they explore ways to respond to a child’s behavior
Siyyum CelebrationHelp CITs/TAs to reflect on all they have learned and celebrateThis session celebrates successes so far and makes plans for ongoing learning. Name some of the skills they have acquired in the CIT/TA program
Discuss ways to continue growing and learning
Mark the moment of stepping into leadership