Alan Kay's work with SmallTalk for kids... It's very interactive and fun. http://www.squeakland.org/and there is also NetLogo athttp://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/If you look at many of the CS departments, Java is widely supported as part of the introductory level programming courses. In my day, Stanford used Algol W and Pascal. Object-oriented programming approaches come in many languages but Java is still very popular.
Scott . . thanks so much for the suggestions. :)Jim