Jenny Chapman, MP for Darlington, has been appointed to the position, replacing Pat Glass, who had been in the role since September last year.
Prior to being elected to parliament in 2010 served, Chapman was lead member for children's services at Darlington Borough Council for seven years and also chaired the town's children's trust.
Before the reshuffle, she was shadow prisons and probation minister, a role she was appointed to in 2011.
Chapman said on Twitter that she is "ready for a new challenge". Also speaking on Twitter, shadow education secretary Lucy Powell said she is "delighted" about Chapman's appointment.
Her appointment was also welcomed by the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (Pacey).
Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of the National Day Nurseries Association, said: “We congratulate Jenny on her new role and look forward to discussing with her the key part that private, voluntary and independent nurseries have to play in delivering high-quality childcare to support children and families.”
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance said: "We look forward to developing a healthy working relationship with Ms Chapman, ensuring that the early years agenda remains a top priority for the opposition.”