When I learned, my teacher had me start with a scarf in straight garter stitch. (knitting every row). this taught me exactly how to do the knit stitch and I didn't get confused trying to add the other purl stitch. I also learned on Bamboo needles. I would have gotten very frustrated trying to keep the yarn on those slick aluminum needles!
After that, shhe taught me to do the purl, and then I was off!
I will say that I tried to teach my 9 year old and she isn't coordinated enough to knit effectively yet. I taught her to finger knit and she loved it! So easy and fun and they don't need much coordination.