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Barbara Bowman

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Barbara Bowman

Barbara Taylor Bowman
Born (1928-10-30) October 30, 1928 (age 85)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Nationality American
Education B.A., Sarah Lawrence College
M.A., University of Chicago
Occupation Early childhood education advocate
Years active 50+
Known for Co-founder of the Erikson Institute
Board member of Business People in the Public Interest,
Chicago Public Library Foundation,
Great Books Foundation,
High Scope Educational Foundation,
Institute for Psychoanalysis,
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
Spouse(s) James E. Bowman, M.D.
Children Valerie Jarrett
Parents Robert Robinson Taylor, grandfather

Barbara Taylor Bowman (born October 30, 1928) is an award-winning African-American early childhood education expert/advocate, professor, and author. Her areas of expertise include early childhood care/education, educational equity for minority and low-income children, as well as intergenerational family support and roles.[1] She has served on several boards and was the co-founder of the Erikson Institute, where she pioneered the teaching of early childhood education and administration.[2]

Early years

Bowman was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, Illinois. Her grandfather was architect Robert Robinson Taylor, and her father, Robert Rochon Taylor, was on the board of the Chicago Housing Authority. After receiving a B.A. degree from Sarah Lawrence College, she began teaching at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools' nursery school, while simultaneously earning her M.A. degree in education from the University of Chicago in 1952.[3] She went on to teach at preschools and elementary schools.


Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty and the 1965 creation of Head Start inspired Bowman.[4] The next year, with the support of businessman and philanthropist Irving B. Harris, Bowman cofounded the Chicago School for Early Childhood Education (now known as the Erikson Institute) with child psychologist Maria Piers and social worker Lorraine Wallach.[5] Bowman went on to serve as its president during the period of 1994 to 2001, and maintains a professorship at the institute, where she is the Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Development. The institute's Barbara T. Bowman Professor of Child Development professorship is named in her honor.[2][6]

Bowman is the Chicago Public Schools' Chief Early Childhood Education Officer. She is the past president (1980–1982) of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.[3] Her Board memberships are many including: Business People in the Public Interest, Chicago Public Library Foundation, Great Books Foundation, High Scope Educational Foundation, Institute for Psychoanalysis, and National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Among the many honorary degrees awarded to Bowman are those from Bank Street College, Dominican University, Governors State University, Roosevelt University, and Wheelock College.[1]

During her career, she has also served on the Editorial Board of Early Childhood Research Quarterly, and chaired the National Academy of Science, National Research Council's Committee on Early Childhood Pedagogy.

Personal life

Bowman is a quarter black from her grandfather, and was married to the late medicalist James E. Bowman, renowned pathologist and geneticist of African American descent, and the first black Resident at St. Luke’s Hospital. They have one daughter, Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Liaison in the Obama administration.[7] Their granddaughter, Laura Jarrett, graduated from Harvard Law School in 2010 and married [8] Tony Balkissoon, June 2012.


  • Chicago Association for the Education of Young Children Outstanding Service to Children Award
  • Chicago League of Women Voters' Civic Contribution Award
  • Harold W. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education, 2005[4]
  • Mercedes Award
  • National Black Child Development Institute Leadership Award
  • Voices for Illinois' Children Start Early Award[1]
  • Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis Human Spirit Award

Partial bibliography

  • -, & Attinasi, J. (1994). Cultural diversity and academic achievement Urban education program. (Oak Brook, IL]): NCREL. OCLC 34512344
  • -, Bredekamp, S., Dodge, D. T., Epstein, A. S., & Borgia, E. (2000). Ensuring Quality and Accountability Through Leadership Tape 1, Curriculum and Assessment. Washington, D.C.: Head Start Bureau, The National Head Start Child Development Institute. OCLC 174103343
  • -, Donovan, S., & Burns, M. S. (2001). Eager to learn: Educating our preschoolers. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. ISBN 0-309-06836-3
  • - (2002). Love to read: Essays in developing and enhancing early literacy skills of African American children. [Washington, D.C.]: National Black Child Development Institute. OCLC 52332653
  • -, & Moore, E. K. (2006). School readiness and social-emotional development: Perspectives on cultural diversity. Washington, DC: National Black Child Development Institute. OCLC 123438767
  • - (1973). "Role-Models and Social Change". Childhood Education. 49 (4), 180-3. OCLC 92283737
  • - (1983). "Do Computers Have a Place in Preschools". OCLC 92833821
  • - (1989). "Educating Language-Minority Children: Challenges and Opportunities". Phi Delta Kappan. 71 (2), 118-20. OCLC 93612997
  • - (1989). "Self-Reflection as an Element of Professionalism". Teachers College Record. 90 (3), 444-51. OCLC 93619328
  • - (1992). "Who Is at Risk for What and Why". Journal of Early Intervention. 16 (2), 101-08. OCLC 93183459
  • - (1994). "The Challenge of Diversity". Phi Delta Kappan. 76 (3), 218-24. OCLC 93677959
  • - (1995). "The Professional Development Challenge: Supporting Young Children and Families". National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development. Young Children. 51 (1), 30-34. OCLC 93892515


External links

  • Photo of Barbara T. Bowman, 2006
Biography portal
Education portal

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