When I was looking for words that begin with "x" so that I could do this post, I came across "xyloid" on YourDictionary.com. It is an adjective that means "resembling wood; woody." I found it to be appropriate for an aspect of the Montessori environment that can easily elude us at times.
We like to make our environments as natural as possible. Plastic is bright and ugly, yet often cheaper and more durable. I will admit that I still have some plastic in my classroom. I primarily use it in the art area because it doesn't get ruined as easily as a traditional wooden basket or bowl. You will find some in the practical life area, but mostly in the form of larger bowls and bins for soap and cleaning works. Some of my bins are older plastic ones that have been in the room for years. I am slowly replacing everything, but have a limited budget. I have managed on occasion, though, to find some xyloid bowls and baskets. They are sturdier, yet affordable and look quite natural in the environment.
I keep my eyes peeled everywhere that I go for good deals and new materials to add to the classroom. I have had the most luck with the Dollar Store, garage sales, and our local public market. Where do you find affordable wooden or xyloid materials for your classroom?