Alberta's bleak financial position is putting pressure on one Red Deer school board to keep an all-day kindergarten program that focuses on learning through play running.

Alberta schools have been told there will not be any money in this spring's budget to pay for all-day kindergarten. Education Minister Jeff Johnson delivered the message to school councils in a conference call in January. 

Alison Dubray's son is one of 70 children in the pilot project run by the Red Deer Catholic Regional school board at three local schools.

She said she is seeing a difference in her son.

"When he first started, he was a typical little boy — only knew a couple of numbers, a couple colours — and now he's actually reading," she said.

But with no funding earmarked, the board says it's not going to be easy keeping it afloat.

"It is very difficult when we know that there is a best practice being identified for five-year-olds and the funding is not being allocated directly to support young children and their families with accessing quality early-learning programming," said Rori-Lynn Daniel, co-ordinator of Inclusive Learning for the Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools.

Daniel says the board will do everything in its power to make sure the program survives.