The Taqwa School has opened in Spence after a long battle for registration, taking on a former Canberra Grammar school teacher as the new principal.
Keen to open quietly under an atmosphere of heightened tensions, principal Dr Pauline Griffiths said the school had a "lovely family feel".
The school started term one with the rest of the territory in early February but moved into its new temporary campus on Monday.
Instead of holding back tears, Hassan Warsi, chair of the school's board, said his two children Maryam, 5 and Abdullah, 6, were jumpy with excitement on their first day.
"They were making some very smart comments, I was listening to them as I was driving to the school. They are very excited and they really like their new temporary campus," he said.
The site in Spence will accommodate the school's first 30 students while Muslims in Gungahlin and Belconnen raise funds to build a permanent Islamic school in Gungahlin.
"It is a community-driven school, demand-driven school and that is where the funding came from," Mr Warsi said.
"Students can identify with their culture, that is what the school will provide them with, while they integrate in Australian culture," he said.
Mr Warsi said the school was a long time in the making and they had learnt a lot since they were initially denied registration after a critical review last year.
The review said the school's application failed to show it was viable, fully considered protection procedures and staff qualifications and included a rap over the knuckles for copying from another school's employment agreement.
The reapplication for school registration was lodged by the Canberra Muslim Youth (CMY) and was approved late last year.
"We have learnt a lot of things, not just about the process. We have demonstrated that the second time we have come around we have done a lot better," Mr Warsi said.
Dr Griffiths has worked for eight years at Canberra Grammar and at Daramalan College, and has a keen interest in multicultural schooling.
"I've always been interested in starting a new school so we can get the learning environment just right for students.
"I am very committed to multicultural learning and globalisation really interests me. It is wonderful to have such a diverse student body," she said.
Dr Griffiths said many of the students were ESL learners from such countries as Afghanistan, Sudan, and Pakistan, and English could be their second, third or fourth language.
She said they also had an Arabic language program.
"It will eventually be a K-12 school and children will learn Arabic all the way through," she said.
Dr Griffiths said the school's name, Taqwa, means being a good person all the time even when people are not watching you.