Laughs filled the air musically Tuesday morning as preschoolers chased bubbles around the room, or pulled against one another as they held onto a small parachute.
Some children, barely a year old, played patty-cake with proud parents, all part of the "Cool Kids Music" program held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays in the Linton Public Library.
The free program, held Tuesdays through July, also encourages parental participation.
"No one really left their child there, and then came back," retired teacher Sue Short said. "Even if they were really young, their moms sat them on their laps and played patty cake. It's all the beginning of them developing the skills they need."
Many of the children can't read yet. Some can't even walk. But organizers say participants aged 4 and younger still are learning the basics for literacy through music and rhythm.
Some are less than a year old, but already they're learning, assisted by a library program which links words to music and teaches the kids structure and listening skills.
"It's music and movement. The songs are already selected. Actually, children learn a lot easier with music, more than they do any other way," said children's librarian Phyllis Franklin.
"Music's really the beginning of reading. There is a rhythm to it," said Short, who brought her granddaughter Lyla Yingling to the weekly sessions last spring and summer.
Franklin emphasized the program utilizes methods which mix learning and play.
"That's how children remember things," she said. "There is a rhythm to reading, and that's how children learn pre-literacy skills."
Play, too, is a significant factor in the sessions, taught this year by Carol Byers. The children ride around the room on toy wooden horses, or toss scarves around in time to music.
Everything's structured, however, with each activity teaching the young a lesson, Short said.
"Those times were really the beginning of Lyla learning many things," Short said. "She learned to listen and follow directions. She learned to wait her turn in line, which was a little bit of challenge."
Now that Lyla's in preschool, time conflicts mean she won't make it to as many sessions, Short said. However, her newborn baby sister Lauren may someday, and Short's impressed with the lasting memory the program provided Lyla.
"She still remembers the sessions. She wants to go to the library all the time."