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 sixth 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 17 years with our two children and two cats. 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 fourth grade at Cedar Creek Elementary and loves to play soccer and his new favorite, golf. Charlotte will be in third grade. She is my little dancer/ gymnast. Reed will be in Kindergarten 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, Giraffes, I am very excited to begin my second year at Traditions Preschool teaching 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 second grade this year in Grain Valley and my son Bryce will be a Giraffe here at Traditions! I am looking forward to a wonderful school year full of fun and discovery!
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 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.
ABBEY ROBINSON, Zebras. I am married and have two wonderful boys, who always keep me on my toes. Rounding up my family is our dog Scotty, he truly thinks he is my third child. I attended Pitt State University and have worked as a retail manager. This is my second year at Traditions Preschool and I am so excited for the opportunity to work with you and your child.
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.
KATHLEEN RIZZO, Science/Math, I am looking forward to working with children in the areas of Science and Math. It's my philosophy that the younger the children are when they learn math and science concepts, the greater understanding and love for them they will have in the future. I taught in the Missouri Public Schools for 31 years teaching numerous grade levels and special education before I retired and began teaching at UCM in Warrensburg, Early Childhood Education-Junior Block. This past year I subbed in all rooms at Traditions and worked in the pre-K program with Ms. Leslie mainly on Fridays this last semester. On a personal note, I have been married for 30 years and have 2 daughters and two grandchildren who all keep me extremely busy with all their activities. I love long walks, watching movies, canoeing, going to plays, and of course the KC Royals and Chiefs. I am excited to be part of the wonderful staff at Traditions and I am really looking forward to it.
LAURA SCIPHO, Bears, I am married to John and have two daughters, Alia who is 10, and Amya who is 7. We have three dogs, Odin, Thor, and Major. We have lived in Lee's Summit almost 5 years. I love watching movies, reading, and spending time at church. 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 fifth year teaching. This is my third year teaching at Traditions and I am really looking forward to it!
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 31 years and have 2 sons. We have lived in Lee's Summit for 30 years. I have 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!