Ateliers de la Petite Enfance

Same old story: Jean Touitou (owner and designer of A.P.C.) didn't like the options for his daughter's preschool — so he started his own.

Ateliers de la Petite Enfance (A.P.E.) opened in January with 25 students. The student to teacher ratio is about 1 to 6. Tuition is "expensive by French standards" at $16,000 per year. A satellite space around the corner opens this spring as the A.P.E.'s art workshop and mini theater for concerts and plays. A partner at M/M enrolled his own kid and is now working on a "visual toolbox" for the school. Jessica Ogden is a part-time art teacher. The school was designed by A.P.C.'s architect, Laurent Deroo, who installed plywood closet doors that double as a climbing wall, little Aalto chairs and that rad black folding wall thing. The school is Touitou's way to "build something solid that might last longer than fashion."

From W, April 2008: "Even if you grow up to be an accountant, it's better to be surrounded by beautiful furniture than by ugly furniture." / "This is a nursery school, so you can't just put in a concrete floor because it looks good." / "Montessori has kept a lot of shrinks in business."


  1. Hmm, i love me some APC, but from his explanations in the article, i couldn't figure out what, exactly, the approach of the school is, besides low student/teacher ratio and "not Catholic."

    The French state system cranks out clones, but freedom-obsessed Montessori cranks out neurotics?

    I get the feeling he just is a bit of a control freak, which now extends to his kid's education; it's the fashion/luxury equivalent of home schooling.

  2. Exactly. The author says his philosophy about clothes parallels his (APE's) educational philosophy: "which cultivates a dynamic of independence that allows the students to learn to be themselves. [and that] "civilizing" the kids -- teaching them the right ways to live among others -- is key." So yeah, what you said.

    Also: Touitou "regrets that his own parents weren't more attuned to his inner rock star."

    But: I like me some plywood climbing wall (formaldehyde-soaked splinters and all).

  3. I don't see how the school is any much different to the other pre-schools runs by the French Government. Why to these kids should get special treatment for what they learn when they should learn the same things as the others? The only thing advantageous for these kids is that they have this unique creative environment but other schools will have similar things. All pre-schools have toys and things to do right?

    But really, what the french culture cultivates it's really no big deal.