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 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.
CHRISTINE BRISON, Zebras. I am excited to be teaching the Zebras for my fifth 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 is 18 and Gabriel is 21. 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 young 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. This will be my eighth 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 return for a new year at Traditions Preschool. I love 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 third grade at Cedar Creek Elementary and loves to play soccer, baseball, and his new favorite, golf. Charlotte will be in second grade. She is my little dancer/ gymnast. Reed will be in the Giraffe 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!
ASHLEY HARLEMAN, Science, I am very excited to begin my first year at Traditions Preschool teaching science to the Zebras and Giraffes! I have been in education for several years and have taught many different ages from preschool to third grade. I graduated from the University of Central Missouri in 2004 with a degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. My husband and I live in Grain Valley with our two wonderful children! My daughter Peyton will be in first grade this year in Grain Valley and my son Bryce will be a Zebra here at Traditions! I am looking forward to a wonderful school year full of fun and discovery!
ASHLEY HARP, Zebras. This is m first year teaching at Traditions, and I am beyond thrilled to be adventuring, discovering, and learning with your kiddos! My degree is in Directing and Acting from Avila University's Theatre Department. I also teach acting classes at Theatre for Young America for preschoolers up to high school aged young adults. Imaginative play, story telling, and finding each child's unique voice are a few of the things that I love to nurture in the classroom and on the stage. My hobbies include acting and singing, tending to our family's organic garden, watching movies, eating delicious food, and spending as much time with my family as I can. I have been married for 8 years on Halloween, and we have a son named Kepler who is in the Giraffe class this year. We all live in the "Yellow House" with our beautiful spotty dog, Pigeon. This year is going to be a blast, and I can't wait to help your children to learn and grow!
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: three boys and a girl.
MARY BETH RYBOWICZ, My husband, Matt and I have been married for 15 years. We have 3 children, Lauren 12, Emily 9 and Ben 6. I have lived most of my life in Lee's Summit. I have been teaching preschool for about 15 years. This will be my second year at Traditions and working with Darra. I love watching children grow, learn, and become their own person. I'm looking forward to a great year ahead.
LAURA SCIPHO, Bears, I am married to John and have two daughters, Alia who is 9, and Amya who is 6. We have three dogs, Odin, Thor, and Major. We have lived in Lee's Summit almost 4 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 fourth year teaching. This is my second year teaching at Traditions and I am really looking forward to it!
SARAH STROM, Giraffes. I have been married for 10 years and am a mother of two. My son is in second grade at Meadow Lane Elementary and my daughter is in Kindergarten! This will be my fourth 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 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 pursuing their own careers. 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!