Since this is to address a legitimate question and not to discuss 17th century word usage (i.e. kids meaning baby goats) let me delve into it in a somewhat roundabout way.
It is a question that often puzzles us in the 17th century English Village. I don’t mean it puzzles our characters, they know exactly where their children are. They’re “down the lane”, or “out in the fields”, or “at the shore tending to the swine”. No, it puzzles (or amuses) us as modern people when visitors want to know where the children are. This is particularly true when it is a teacher herding his or her own classroom about our village.
We appreciate that they have allowed themselves the luxury of suspension of disbelief and understand that they have gone “back in time”. But surely they must know that they haven’t really and our children are exactly where theirs are- In School! We have child labor laws here in the Commonwealth!
A corollary to this is when we do have child volunteers in the village (like this year) and adults demand, “Why aren’t these children in school?” To which young Bartle Allerton must explain that we don’t have a school in New Plymouth yet.
I had the distinct pleasure and responsibility (and certainly it was that) to be the Child Volunteer Coordinator this summer. We had nine boys and girls in costume, doing a great job with such difficult work as 17th English dialect, bringing visitor’s children into their games, hauling wood and water, cooking dinner, and just general all around being Pilgrim kids. So, I want to give special thanks to Andrew, Jonah, Lilia, Patrick, Paul, Marie, Matty, Miranda, and Sarah. It was a treat for everyone to have you with us this summer and we hope to see you next year.