Elma Harder was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. She grew up on a prairie farm, picking berries and vegetables in the family garden, collecting eggs in the hen house and driving the grain truck during harvest. The first school she attended was a two-room schoolhouse, where she shared the same classroom with students from Grade 1 to 5.

Later, she went on to study in the fields of education (B.Ed., University of Saskatchewan, 1980), theology (B.Th., Canadian Mennonite Bible College, 1977), home economics (B.Sc. in Home Economics, University of Saskatchewan, 1984) and adult education (M.Sc. Continuing and Vocational Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1986). Several times she left Saskatchewan -- land of the living skies--  to see what the skies looked like in other parts of the world. She has worked as a teacher of English as a Second Language in Japan, elementary school in Fort Chipeywan in northern Alberta and at the International School of Islamabad, junior high school in Falher, Alberta,  Biggar, Saskatchewan, and Montreal, and as a sessional lecturer in the Educational Foundations Department at the University of Saskatchewan.

Elma is keenly interested in real life-long learning and teaching. She has developed numerous resources and thematic materials for use in the classroom. At the International School of Islamabad, where she taught 1993-99, she designed and coordinated a school-wide theme on moving, with a focus on displaced people, and the unit was subsequently awarded the school category winner of a national citizenship contest sponsored by Weekly Reader, Connecticut, USA. A Muslim since 1988, Elma has sought to design creative teaching material about Islam. She has written and illustrated stories about the prophets in the Qur’an for her own children, and they have been published as Stories of the Prophets (Oxford University Press, Karachi: 1999). Other publications include The World of Islam – an activity book for children who think (Suhail Academy, Lahore: 2000) and Education, Islam and the Challenge to Contemporary Muslim Societies (Islamic Thought and Scientific Creativity, vol.4, no.2, 1993).

Elma Harder and her family now live under the wide blue Alberta sky.

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