Welcome to our school! We look forward to getting to know your child.
Traditions Preschool General Information
DIRECTOR: Darra Draheim
AGE RANGES: Two year olds to pre-Kindergarteners. Children are placed in classes according to which year they will attend Kindergarten. The age cut-off is August 1st.Bears – Two years old by August 1st.Zebras – Three years old by August 1st.Giraffes – at least four years old by August 1st.
We strive for a six children to one teacher ratio to provide the optimum learning environment. All classrooms have at least two teachers in attendance.
SCHEDULE: Traditions Preschool hours are 9:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. during the school year. We are open Monday through Friday. Parents may choose one, two, three, four, or five day attendance for their child depending upon availability. Summer camp information is under the enrollment tab.
EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY: Our philosophy is to guide the children’s development in all areas by a variety of activities. We will offer the traditional preschool activities such as readiness skills, circle time, arts and crafts, music, story time, share circle, etc. The lesson plans are developed by the Director and the teachers to be age appropriate and consistent throughout the program.
We have themes each week emphasizing colors, literary characters, holidays, habitats, etc. The study of traditional preschool skills revolves around the weekly themes. We are striving to strike a balance of activities to enhance all areas of a child’s growth, while provide a safe, happy, and positive “first school” experience.
TEACHERS: The Director and many teachers have Elementary Education degrees and teaching experience in the public schools. Our teachers have (or have had) children involved in our preschool. Those that do not have college degrees have substantial college hours and are also serving our community as scout leaders, classroom volunteers, etc. Turnover is very low with many teachers with decades of experience in a classroom. Staff members are CPR certified. We now offer Stretch-n-Grow Fitness classes included in the monthly tuition. We also include special group activities in Science and Math.
BUREAU OF CHILDCARE GUIDELINES: We meet or exceed Bureau of Childcare licensing requirements. All teachers are screened and documented according to their guidelines. Sanitation, fire safety, curriculum, and paperwork requirements are met in order to continue the excellence of our program. More information can be found in our parent handbook. All required forms for enrollment are available in the office
Meet the Teachers Of Traditions Preschool, Inc.
DARRA DRAHEIM, Director. I have been a preschool educator for several decades. I graduated from MU - Columbia with a major in Elementary Education and a minor in Early Childhood education. I have previously taught Kindergarten, Sunday school, Bible school and taught third grade in Lee's Summit at Prairie View Elementary. I am a long time Lee's Summit resident, am married, and have two married children, and four adorable granddaughters. I am dedicated to continuing the excellence of our program, and I appreciate the opportunity to work with you and your child.
ELIZABETH BIRD, Zebras. I have a Master’s degree from Kansas State University, where I met my wonderful husband. We have been blessed with beautiful twin daughters and the chaos of our house is complete with our two dogs. I have specialties in several areas, including theater and music. I have been with Traditions preschool since its inception, working behind the scenes. Some of my earliest memories are helping Darra, my wonderful mother, make example projects. So, you could say I’ve been doing this all my life! I am excited for the opportunity to help your child grow and learn!
SARAH BOLES, Giraffes. Hello! I am so excited to spend time with your little learners this year. I live in Lee’s Summit with my husband and two kids: a current Traditions learner and an alumnus. I worked as an elementary paraprofessional while earning my Masters from UCM, then taught middle school reading and foreign languages for six years. My favorite part of teaching preschool is working on soft skills like cooperation, critical thinking, empathy, and problem solving. When I’m not in the classroom, I love to climb, camp, hike, trail run, paddle, play with my kids, and garden.
LINDA BYRD, Giraffes. I am married and have two wonderful children of my own and three adorable grandchildren! Since my children are now adults, it is refreshing to “revisit” the younger years at Traditions. I count it a privilege to teach and nurture the young ones at this school. I have had the joy of teaching children for more than a decade. Every child is a unique individual with a unique personality and I look forward to working with your child.
KIM DAVIS, I have been married for over 40 years to my husband, Kevin. We have 5 adult children and many precious grandchildren. We lived over 17 years in North Wales, United Kingdom where I had the privilege of working with children and teens in many different capacities. I enjoy reading, walking, and spending time with my family. I am excited to be returning to Traditions and the opportunity to work with your children!
AMY GILLIAM, Bears. I am so happy to be a part of the Traditions family! Between my two children, I drove back and forth to Traditions for five years. Since we loved sending our kids there so much, I decided it would be fun to see what it’s like on the other side as a teacher. . . and I’m so glad I did! I have two children and married my high school sweetheart. I have a degree in business administration from Graceland University, and grew up in Des Moines, Iowa. In my spare time I love to be with my family, bake, go for walks/hikes, do puzzles, play board games, and watch the CHIEFS!
ASHLEY HARP, Bears, I am thrilled to be returning to Traditions Preschool! I live in Lee's Summit with my husband (Ryan), my two boys (Kepler the Goob & Aldren the Boog), and our sweet sister puppy (Pigeon). I have a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from Avila University in Theatre. I have worked for many years acting, teaching, costuming, and supporting imaginations with Kansas City's longest running children's theatre, Theatre for Young America. Fueling the spark of creativity in the beautiful imaginations of littles through play, literature, songs, and hands on activities is my passion!! My family and I are HUGE Star Wars fans. I love movies, musicals, pasta, and vintage clothes. I am beyond excited to be back at Traditions and to play and inspire your fantastic kiddos in the Bears Room!
CHRISTIE JOHANSEN, Giraffes. I am married and have two wonderful boys. We moved to Lee’s Summit in 2017 after living in Illinois for 10 years. My husband and I both grew up in Missouri so when the opportunity came to move back, we took it. I have a Retail Merchandising degree from MU and have stayed at home with my boys since they were born. I volunteer at their school as needed and am often cheering them along on the sideline with their sports. I am very excited to work with your children and look forward to a great year!
JAMES MCMANUS, Giraffes. My wife and I have two children ages six and two. I have been fortunate to stay home with them both. When we moved to Lee’s Summit, our oldest attended Traditions until kindergarten. We were so impressed that we knew we wanted our youngest to attend too. Now that she is old enough, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to teach as well! I graduated from the University of Central Missouri with a degree in Psychology of Rehabilitation and have spent much of my career working with youth and children in social services. I love working with families and helping them discover who they are and being a resource on their journey. In my free time I like to exercise, be outdoors and watch the Chiefs.
JENNIFER MILLER, Zebras. I received my Elementary Education degree from the University of Saint Mary. I was a substitute teacher in the Shawnee Mission district until I moved to Lee’s Summit to teach first grade at Westview Elementary. In addition to being a teacher, I have 10 years’ experience as a Nanny. I decided to stay home once my 3 boys came along. I have been teaching in the Zebra room since 2009. I’m looking forward to another fun and productive year with your child.
LAURA NASTASI, Zebras. I have previously taught with Darra for over 15 years in Zebras and Giraffes. I have an Elementary Education degree from MU and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from UMKC. I have experience teaching 4th grade in the LS school district. My husband and I are longtime residents of Lee’s Summit. We have four children and an adorable grandson.
LESLIE WASSON, Giraffes, I have been teaching at Traditions since it opened in 2010 and I have been teaching and working with Darra for over 20 years! My husband Dan and I have been living in Lee’s Summit since 1986, and we have raised four wonderful children here, who are now adults and four amazing grandchildren! I received my degree from the University of Central Missouri (UCM) in Family and Child Development. I enjoy living in Lee’s Summit and spending time with my family and friends. I have always loved teaching and working with children of all ages. I am looking forward to a fun and exciting year at Traditions!
RONDA WEAVER, Zebras, Hi! I’m Ronda Weaver and I am thrilled to join the Traditions staff teaching in the Zebra class. A graduate of Truman University with a degree in elementary education and a Master’s degree in teaching from Webster University, it was my privilege to teach in the Lee’s Summit school district for 25 years in grades 1st, 4th & 5th. Two children, Holli and Kerby, their spouses, plus 6 terrific grandchildren brighten my days. I am excited to be back at Traditions! Looking forward to seeing our Zebras!