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Beyond hijabs and Ramadan: Teaching about Islam and Muslims in elementary classrooms

Heidi J. Torres (Department of Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum, The University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA)

Social Studies Research and Practice

ISSN: 1933-5415

Article publication date: 13 August 2019

Issue publication date: 20 September 2019




The purpose of this paper is to describe an integrated social studies and literacy unit designed to teach about Islam in elementary classrooms. Concerns regarding teaching about religion in public schools are addressed, and a rationale is provided for specifically teaching about Islam.


The unit is described in detail, outlining key ideas and purposes for the unit’s scope, sequence and activities. Several extensions to the unit are included, as well as suggestions on how to address difficult topics that might arise.


Students participating in this unit exhibited interest and curiosity about Islam and Muslims, indicated by their desire to ask questions, discuss issues and engage in the activities. Reflections at the end of the unit indicate that students learned new information and ideas about Islam and Muslims.

Practical implications

The unit described in this paper as well as the resources and suggestions provide a framework for teachers who want to teach about Islam to elementary-aged children.


Although there are a number of articles in the literature that address ideas on teaching about Islam or other religions in the classroom, there are few that provide practical, specific, pedagogical information for doing so, particularly at the elementary level. This paper strives to contribute toward that aim.



Torres, H.J. (2019), "Beyond hijabs and Ramadan: Teaching about Islam and Muslims in elementary classrooms", Social Studies Research and Practice, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 255-265.



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