There exist Newton Connection Utils for the Mac and the PC (windows).
I have the mac version here at home.
Check out the "newton cage" in my other post in this forum and they have the connection utils.
I have not checked the Connection utils with neither win2000 not OS X (lol I guess it's time to do so, dont you think? )
On printing, if you have an IrDA printer, check out and see if there are drivers around for it for the newton then you can use that to print. Else I guess you can set up a small network of newts (with ethernet PCMCIA cards) and have them connected via network to a printer.
Cheap hardware ? check ebay, but the problem is that they do not have stuff in large quantities. I have 2 memory PCMCIA cards, one 2MB one and one 12MB one.
And finally programs for grade 1 to 3 .... you got me there,
How about games lol .. I have a lot of em on my 2100
Newtonworks is an obvious choice I think, teach those littel critters how to type, they can also draw (using the notepad).
The program called "lexionary" was made public (free) by the company for the newton (its an english dictionary)...Hmmm cant think of anything else just yet.
You can also have basic internet with Netwscape or Nethopper, of yourse you will need the Newton Internet Enabler (version 2.0) to get online.
Also what might give your kids a kick is the program Neko, it has a little cat running around the screen lol
The least expensive connecting hardware is the phone-net connectors and as much phone cable as you need to reach from your computer to your eMates.
This system permits a daisy-chain or linear bus topology which is great for eMates in the classroom.
I believe that NCU will permit you to connect up to 8 or 10 eMates at one time via either serial (as in the case of the phonenet/localtalk connections) or ethernet connections (you would need ethernet cards, Category 5 cables, the software drivers for your particular card, and a hub to make this work).
However there is one caveat, the printer that you put in this chain must be a local-talk printer. Your Personal Laserwriter may be such but I don't own one.
There is a keyboarding tutor application which name escapes me at the moment.
My own children (ages 7) love Works for writing and drawing, and of course games like battleship (they can play head-to-head via infrared with two eMates), solitaire and desdemona.