I am a dreamer. I love magical things. I believe that I can do magic through small things that I am passionate about. And people like what you are passionate about,” reflects the sweet lady in her cozy cardigan in front of her vast collection of books, written by dreamers just like her. That lady is Dovile Pelegrimas who one and a half years ago opened the school Herojus with her husband Andrius – a school inspired by their belief in the importance of encouraging education and love for children.
PR Fashion Room has known Dovile for years and we admire her principles, courage and wholeheartedness. When she and Andrius started with the school, it was more of an afterschool program. That grew into their first class of preschoolers. And from this upcoming September, Herojus will have their first ever 1st and 2nd grade classes. Anything can be done – especially when a simple idea is accompanied by passion, commitment and love.
Who is Dovilė Pelegrimė?
Dovile is a teacher whose goal is to find people’s unique abilities, strengths and passions. What we love is her skill to see what everyone is good at and use it to create and inspire. She has a Master’s degree in literature and she has helped children prepare for exams and do homework for a while. But Dovile is a woman with many different interests – and she finds joy in teaching as it gives her the opportunity to interlink them in a creative process. She is not only a people’s person, she is a children’s person, engaging in everything they do and by that earning the interest to engage children in her activities. She would say that she is a visual “artist”, inspired by all colors in life, by everything she sees and reads.
“Sometimes the right path is not the easiest one.” – Pocahontas
Why did you and your husband Andrius start the Herojus school?
Herojus school is an expression of everything we feel and value. As a human being, I believe that every one of us has a purpose to create and build something that outlives us. I have loved working with children since my freshman year in university and my husband Andrius Pelegrimas started his career by selling educational learning systems to American families. He has done that for over 12 years and has become an expert in it. He has always said: education has a high value and when you have a purpose to achieve great things, it is hard to stop you. My ability to work with children and his people skills and belief in education led us to opening the Herojus school and to sharing the very same ideas we believe in.
Our children go everywhere with us; we play, travel, work, teach and learn together. Sometimes they accompany their dad to the university when he is teaching and other times they go to seminars with their student friends. Our children also go to a kindergarten but the balance between having adult and their own age friends helps them to understand many important things – especially that friends can also be older than you! This part of our lifestyle is definitely something we try to encourage and preserve.
“The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.” – Walt Disney
How does Herojus school work?
Herojus – “hero” – is the symbol of school with limitless potential. Children usually do not have belief barriers like grown-ups; if they want something, they go for it. Grown-ups start to doubt themselves when they want to achieve a goals. What we try to do in our school is to observe what our students are good at, what are their strengths – and then we coach them, give them confidence that they can do it.
Regular school often focus on what children do wrong and try to correct them while our focus is on the opposite: constantly remind them of what they are good at to transfer the feeling of “I can” to other areas of learning. As my husband has vast experience in it, it is great that he can coach teachers on how to do that.
Another thing we do differently is the integrated and contextual learning system: children do not separate school subjects but they learn everything as one. They have a semester project every year that gives them an opportunity to turn their ideas and potential to reality by creating something. This year for example we are making a film.
Who else is involved in your team?
We have a few more team members working at Herojus: Egle, Lina, and another Egle.
We believe that people are creative beings and when circumstances are right, great things happen. We try to give ownership to our teachers and encourage them to be proactive. Our goal is to promote an understanding that they work for themselves: the better they are with children and their parents, the more successful they become as professionals. And good professionals have lots of benefits.
We did not have to look for teachers to work with us. They contacted us themselves and wanted to work at Herojus – the idea of becoming better and doing what you love attracts great people.
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney
What are some of the things you love and enjoy?
I love books, they are our past, present and future. Books give you knowledge and have the power to work your imagination. They are tool for educations, creativity, relaxations, for motivating and for learning new skills. I especially love Russian, French and American classics such as Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita”, Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina”, Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”, Rowling’s “Harry Potter” world and Disney stores like “Peter Pan”.
I try to read at least one book every month. It is more difficult with a busy schedule but reading is the first thing I want to do when I need ‘my time’. I have a home library – I do not like to borrow, read and then give the book back, I like to have them for myself. When I read a good book, it is important for me to have it in my library.
Like I mentioned before, I am more into visual than auditory arts – instead of listening, I need to see, read and imagine. Otherwise, I like ceramics, unusual clothing, interior design, painting and paintings, film-making. Lots of interesting ideas are also hidden in quality creation for children like animation and toys; toys always tell some kind of a story!
Photos : Marius Žičius
Text: PR fashion room