Welcome to our school! We look forward to getting to know your child.
Traditions Preschool General Information
DIRECTOR: Darra Draheim
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Karen Gilliam
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.
All classes will have 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. Individual computer classes are also included in the 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 grown children, Jonathan and Elizabeth, who are now young adults. I am dedicated to continuing the excellence of our program, and I appreciate the opportunity to work with you and your child.
KAREN GILLIAM, Assistant Director. I have a 21 year-old son, Ryan, who is attending Missouri State, three grown daughters and five grandsons who keep me very busy! Though my educational background is in business, I have worked with kids for most of my adult life, and have loved working with Darra for going on 17 years. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my husband, George and our children and grandchildren. Through the years I have taught all age groups in a preschool setting, in addition to helping teach Sunday School and Vacation Bible School in my church. I am so looking forward to a great year with your kids!
KAREN BENNER, Science, I started working with Darra in 2007 as a classroom teacher and am excited to continue the science program for Traditions again this year. I am also a speech-language-pathologist part -time, but do enjoy preschool age students and have always been interested in exploring the wonders of science! In my personal life I am the mother of three daughters, including a first graders, a sixth grader and a college student at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln-Go Huskers! In my free time I enjoy practicing art and photography, attending musicals, plays, and dance competitions and have recently taken an interest in health and wellness and related environmental concerns
CHRISTINE BRISON, Zebras. I am excited to be teaching the Zebras for my fourth year! I truly enjoy the privilege of being a part of children's learning and seeing the world from their amazing perspective! I graduated from Mizzou with a degree in Business and a minor in Psychology. My husband and I have lived in Lee's Summit for 15 years with our two children and two cats. Adelaine (17) is a senior at LSN High School and Gabriel (21) lives in Kansas City. I love flower gardening, baking, and the laughter of children. I'm excited for a fun year in the Zebras' classroom!
LINDA BYRD, Giraffes. I am married and have two wonderful children of my own. Since my children are now teenagers, 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. This will be my seventh year to have the joy of teaching children. Every child is a unique individual with a unique personality and I look forward to working with your child.
KATIE DIEFENBACHER, Bears, I am excited to start a new year at Traditions Preschool. I started out last January in the Bears room. I loved watching the children learn and discover new things every day. I have lived in Lee's Summit my whole life I am married with three
wonderful children, who keep me pretty busy. My son, Warren, will be in second grade at Cedar Cree Elementary and loves to play soccer, baseball, and his new favorite, golf. Charlotte will be in first grade. She is my little dancer/ gymnast. Reed will be in the Zebra room this year. In my spare time, I love spending time with my family, reading and traveling. I look forward to a fun new year!
SERENA LONG, Bears, Hi Families! This will be my second year with the Bears and I couldn't be more excited to start the year! I've been surrounded by children since I was 10 when my mom started her in-home daycare. I have discovered that I love every part of teaching kids and can't imagine doing anything else! I have one more semester at Longview, then I will transfer to UCM for a major in education. I can't wait to meet you and work with your children this year!
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 children.
LAURA NASTASI, Zebras. I am thrilled to be returning to preschool! I have previously taught with Darra for over 10 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: a son who recently graduated college, a son who's a senior at MU, a son who is a Junior and a daughter who is a freshman in high school.
LAURA SCIPHO, Zebras. I am married to John and have two daughters, Alia who is 8, and Amya who is 5. We have three dogs, Odin, Thor, and Major. We have lived in Lee's Summit almost 3 years. I love watching movies, reading, and scrapbooking. My favorite things are chocolate, iced coffee, and going out to eat. My best times are spending time with my family. I have been working with children for as long as I can remember, and this makes my third year teaching. This is my first year teaching at Traditions and I am really looking forward to it!
ELIZABETH SMITH, Bears. I have been around children, and teaching children for as long as I can remember. My mother was an in-home care giver and she also taught at preschools and daycares. Children were her passion, and I believe she passed that passion to me. In middle school and high school, I assisted in various aged classes for Vacation Bible school. After high school, I was co-teacher for VBS, and also lead teacher in Sunday School classes for children. This will be my fourth year teaching Bears at Traditions. I have been married for just about four years. We have no children yet, but we do see a family in our future.
SARAH STROM, Giraffes. Hello Families! I have been married for 9 years and am a mother of two. My son is in first grade and my daughter is a Giraffes at Traditions! This will be my third year teaching at Traditions Preschool and I love being around kids who are eager to learn. I like to volunteer at my son's school when I can and I also have helped with VBS at my church. In my free time, I can often be found at a ball field, dance studio, or park watching my kids in all of their activities. I also enjoy fishing, camping, sports and really all things outdoors. I look forward to meeting your child and helping them learn and grow. Preschool is such a fun time as everything is new and exciting!
SHEILA THOMPSON, Giraffes. I am so excited to be part of the Traditions Preschool team and am thrilled to be a Giraffes teacher! I can't wait to see what the year has in store for our class! I have previously taught with Darra from 2002-2007 teaching Giraffes and loving every minute of it. I stepped away to homeschool my two boys until they reached high school. My husband and I have been married for 27 years and have 2 sons. We have lived in Lee's Summit for 26 years. Recently I worked at Marian Hope Academy teaching second grade and music. I enjoy spending time with my family, shopping, and going to music and sports events.
LESLIE WASSON, Giraffes. I have been teaching at Traditions since it opened in 2010 and I have been teaching and working with Darra for 19 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 pursuing their own careers. Last December 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 This year I am excited be teaching Giraffes with Linda Byrd. I am looking forward to a fun and exciting year at Traditions!