Early education expert and advocate Barbara Bowman was born on October 30, 1928 in Chicago, Illinois. She earned her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence in 1950 and went on to receive her M.A. from the University of Chicago in 1952.
For many years, Bowman taught at both the preschool and elementary levels, but in 1966 she acted as one of the three founders of the Erickson Institute For Advanced Study in Child Development, where she pioneered the teaching of early childhood education and administration. She has become a sought after expert and she tirelessly pursues higher quality and more extensive training for early education practitioners. Taking her expertise abroad, she has consulted with universities in China and Iran. In addition, she has directed training programs for Head Start teachers, teachers in inner-city schools, caregivers of at-risk infants and for a Child Development Associate's program on Native American Reservations.
Bowman continues to act as the President of the Erickson Institute and of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. She has served on the boards of the Great Books Foundation, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Roosevelt University and the Family Resource Coalition. She is the Chair of the Committee of Early Childhood Pedagogy for the National Research Council, for which she served as a member of their Committee on the Prevention of Reading Difficulties in Young Children. She and her husband, Dr. James Bowman, are the parents of one daughter, Valerie Jarrett and the grandparents of Laura Jarrett.