The message says
and it works as follows:
And of course
Credit where due: There were a couple of errors in the first version of this answer, which I have fixed after Rubio kindly pointed them out.
Discredit where due: I originally claimed that one element in the process was "sometimes slightly sketchy", but the sketchiness was in fact all in ...
So one of your favourite poets is
Taking each three-number code $m.n.p$ to mean
another of your favourite poets is
Another of your favourite poets is
Thanks @Deusovi for help with this!
Thanks to @OmegaKrypton for all but the suffix here.
First of all, let's assume that the encrypted words are in the same order as the plaintext ones, since otherwise this puzzle would just be some boring busywork.
Then, we notice that the kid's names start with the letters A to F only. This means that each round can only shift the first letter of a word by 5 spots in the alphabet.
Let's start with ...
Let's begin by seeing what each chair has changed by over all the rounds it was involved in, by de-Vigenere-ing its final state using its initial state as key. We get, in order:
We can already see that
But let's take a different approach.
which (more or less) just solves some linear equations, and returns this:
In other ...
The message says
[EDITED: The description of the cipher that used to be here was almost but not quite correct, and was not as simple as the one the OP had in mind. Here's another way to put it which I suspect is what they had in mind.]
To encrypt a message,
Adding to the previous excellent answers:
If the letter frequency distribution looks like regular English (lots of ETAOIN, a bit of SHRDLU), and there are maybe (but not necessarily) some short recognisable word fragments in the mix, you are probably dealing with a transposition cipher of one kind or another. If the word lengths look reasonable, it may be ...
This was done by computer.
Solving this manually would be an incredible slog, as you have to test a LOT of combinations of names to see which sets of names encode to the final "words" on the chairs.
Very partial, mostly starting a conversation.
The first thing that stands out to me is
Based on that assumption I:
But I failed to see any clear pattern in the result. I am also still trying to figure out:
Order of Elimination:
To start off we can:
In order to start idetifying where children sat we no that:
This means after round 1 the seating arrangement was:
Now for round two:
Now in round 3 we are down to three total chairs:
Round 4, 2 chairs left: