Kids Play Piano First, Then Read Music
If kids play piano first, and then read music, they get a natural and easy start at the piano. Offer them immediate defeat, and interest flies out the window. The rationale that says a child must immediately read music is a foolish and destructive holdover from the days of the disciplinarians.
It's as if you taught mountain climbing, and decided that each child had to wear 100 pound boots to build strength. Surely this hypothetical mountaineer found that his students were so weary of the 100 pound boots that they had no desire to climb. He ranted and yelled, and finally gave in. He let them wear 50 pound boots.
Still, he noticed that the children were less than enthusiastic. Finally, a child spoke up and said, "Mr. Mountaineer, couldn't we just walk around without the boots, just to get the idea?"
Pedants Have Only One Way Of Teaching
The mountaineer was taken aback. "But this is the way we have always learned. I learned this way. You can't just enjoy the mountain. It will teach you bad habits." I call his teaching Kamikaze Piano, because all his pilots quit. The children quit his class. They wanted to climb the mountain, but the boots were just too heavy. The mountaineer wouldn't change. "Kids are lazy nowadays. No respect for the old traditions and teaching."
Avoid Impossible Expectations
Conventional piano teachers are just like the mountaineer, saddling their students with impossible expectations which destroy their ability to enjoy the activity. To put it in piano terms, it is wiser to let kids get the physical idea of the piano by learning visually at first. You should temporarily delay music reading until the child has developed a sense of how the instrument operates.
Then you can put a little weight in their shoes to see how it goes. This method makes better "mountaineers" whose interest in the piano has longevity. Reading music is not the be-all-end-all of piano: playing the piano is.