You can write procedural code in Ruby, but I think even a beginner benefits from *using* objects. Beginners might not create their own classes. TFS gives the example of Mark showing kids
facebook_user.each do |user|
which is clean code. So my one point that you agree with (syntax is easier), does piggyback a bit off the OO. I agree that 3 can be done for any language, but using what's available has obvious advantages to rolling something new.
Again I'm not sure I know the one-true-language for kids to learn, but Ruby has some advantages (and of course some disadvantages too). I do like Ruby.